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Eontjon : 







My Dear Lord Primate, 

It is the infelicity of the moment at which I 
write, that it is not allowed me to place the fol- 
lowing pages under the patronage of the successor 
of St. Patrick, with the ceremony and observance 
due to so great a name, without appearing to show 
disrespect to an Act of Parliament. 

Such appearance a Catholic is bound to avoid, 
whenever it is possible. The authority of the 
civil power is based on sanctions so solemn and 
august, and the temporal blessings which all 
classes derive from its protection are so many, 
that both on Christian principle and from motives 
of expedience it is ever a duty, unless religious 


considerations interfere, to profess a simple de- 
ference to its enunciations, and a hearty concur- 
rence in its very suggestions ; but how can I deny 
of your Grace what may almost be called a dog- 
matic fact, that you are what the Catholic Church 
has made you ? 

Evil, however, is never without its alleviation ; 
and I think I shall have your Grace's concurrence, 
if in the present instance I recognize the opera- 
tion, already commenced, of that unfailing law of 
Divine Providence, by which all events, prosperous 
or adverse, are made to tend, in one way or other, 
to the triumph of our Religion. The violence of 
our enemies has thrown us back upon ourselves 
and upon each other ; and, though it needed no 
adventitious cause to lead me to aspire to the 
honour of associating my name with that of your 
Grace, whose kindness I had already experienced 
so abundantly when I was at Rome, yet the 
present circumstances furnish a motive of their 
own, for my turning my eyes in devotion and 
affection, to the Primate of that ancient and 
glorious and much enduring Church, who, from 
her own past history, can teach her restored 


English sister bow to persevere in the best of 
causes, and can interchange with her, amid trials 
common to both, the tenderness of Catholic sym- 
pathy and the power of Catholic intercession. 

Begging of your Grace for me and mine, the 
fulness of St. Patrick's benediction, 

I am, my dear Lord Primate, 
Your Grace's faithful and affectionate Servant, 

Cong. Or at. 


It may be necessary to state, that by " Brothers of the 
Oratory," are meant the members of an Association or 
Brotherhood of seculars or laymen, attached, but exter- 
nal, to the Ecclesiastical Congregation, to which the 
Author belongs. These are the persons to whom the 
following Lectures are addressed, with the view of sug- 
gesting to them, how best, as Catholics, to master their 
own position, and to perform their duties in a Protestant 

The Author repeats here, what he has several times 
observed in the course of the Volume itself, that his 
object has not been to prove the divine origin of Catho- 
licism, but to remove some of the moral and intellectual 
impediments which prevent Protestants from perceiving 
it. They cannot be expected to do justice to a religion, 
whose professors they hate and scorn. It has been 
objected to the Author, as regards both this and other of 
his works, that he succeeds better in demolition than in 
construction ; and he has been challenged to draw out a 
proof of the truth of the Catholic Faith. Persons who so 


speak, should consider the state of the case more accu- 
rately ; that he has not attempted the task to which 
they invite him, does not arise from any misgiving what- 
ever in his mind about the strength of his cause, but 
about the disposition of his audience. He has a most 
profound misgiving about their fairness as judges, founded 
on his sense of the misconceptions concerning Catholicism, 
which generally pre-occupy the English mind. Irre- 
sistible as the proof seems to him to be, so as even to 
master and carry away the intellect, directly it is stated, 
so that Catholicism is almost its own evidence, yet it 
requires, as the great philosopher of antiquity reminds 
us, as being a moral proof, a rightly-disposed recipient. 
While a community is overrun with prejudices, it is as 
premature to attempt to prove that to be true which is 
the object of them, as it would be to think of building 
in the aboriginal forest, till you have felled the trees. 

The controversy with our opponents is not simple, but 
various and manifold ; when a Catholic is doing one 
thing, he cannot be doing another ; yet the common 
answer given to his proof of this point, is that it is no 
proof of that. Thus men shift about, silenced in nothing, 
because they have not yet been answered in every thing. 
Let them admit what we have proved, and they will have 
a claim on us for proof of more. One thing at a time 
is the general rule given for getting through business 
well, and it applies to the case before us. In a large and 
complicated question, it is much to settle portions of it ; 
yet this is so little understood, that a course of Lectures 
might profitably confine itself simply to the consideration 


of the canons to be observed in disputation. Catholics 
would have cause to congratulate themselves, though they 
were able to proceed no further, than to persuade Pro- 
testants to argue out one point before going on to another. 
It would be much to get them to give up what they could 
not defend, and to promise they would not return to it. 
It would be much to hinder them from making a great deal 
of an objection till it is refuted, and then suddenly con- 
sidering it so small that it is not worth withdrawing. It 
would be much to hinder them from eluding a defeat on one 
point by digressing to three or four others, and then pre- 
sently running back, and to and fro, to the first, second, 
and third, and treating each in turn as quite a fresh 
subject on which not a word had yet been said. In all 
controversy it is surely right to mark down and record 
what has been proved, as well as what has not ; and this 
is what the Author claims of the reader as regards the 
following Volume. 

He claims, and surely with justice, that it should not 
be urged against his proof that Protestant views of 
Catholics are wrong, that he has not thereby proved that 
Catholicism is right. He wishes his proof taken for 
what it is. He certainly has not proved what he did not 
set about proving : and neither he, nor any one else, has 
any encouragement to go on to prove something more, 
until what he actually has accomplished is distinctly ac- 
knowledged. The obligations of a controversialist lie 
with Protestants equally as with us. 

As regards his Catholic readers, he would ask leave to 
express a hope, that he may not be supposed in his con- 


eluding Lecture to recommend to the Laity the cultiva- 
tion of a controversial temper, or a forwardness and 
rashness and unseasonableness in disputing upon religion. 
No one knows so clearly the difficulty of arguing on 
religious topics, consistently with their sacredness and 
delicacy, as he who has taken pains to do so well. No 
one shrinks so sensitively from its responsibility, when it 
is not a duty, as he who has learned by experience his 
own unavoidable inaccuracies in statement and in rea- 
soning. It is no easy accomplishment in a Catholic to 
know his religion so perfectly as to be able to volunteer 
a defence of it. 

He has, besides, to apologize to them for having made 
some quotations of Scriptui'e from the Protestant ver- 
sion. He has been led to do so in cases, where, points 
of faith not being involved, it was necessary for the 
argumentative or I'hetorical force of the passages in 
which they occur. 

And lastly he earnestly begs their prayers that he 
may be prospered and blest in whatever he attempts, 
however poorly, for God's glory and the edification of 
His Church. 

Oratory, Birmingham, 
In Fest. Nativ. B. M. V. 1851. 



I. Protestant View of the Catholic Church ... I 

II. Tradition the Sustaining Power of the Protestant View 4 1 

III. Fable the Basis of the Protestant View ... 79 

IV. True Testimony unequal to the Protestant View . 121 

V. Logical Inconsistency of the Protestant View . .169 

VL Prejudice the Life of the Protestant View . . 213 

VII. Assumed Principles the Intellectual Instrument of the 

Protestant View 259 

VIII. Want of Intercourse with Catholics the Protection of 

the Protestant View 301 

IX. Duties of Catholics towards the Protestant View . 347 



There is a well-known fable, of which it is to my purpose 
to remind you, my Brothers of the Oratory, by way of in- 
troducing to you the subject of the Lectures which I am 
proposing to deliver. I am going to inquire why it is, that, 
in this intelligent nation and in this rational nineteenth 
century, we Catholics are so despised and hated by our 
own countrymen, with whom we have lived all our lives, 
that they are prompt to believe any story, however ex- 
travagant, that is told to our disadvantage ; as if beyond a 
doubt, we were, every one of us, either brutishly deluded 
or preternaturally hypocritical, and they themselves, on 
the contrary, were in comparison of us absolute specimens 
of sagacity, wisdom, uprightness, manly virtue, and en- 
lightened Christianity. I am not inquiring why they are 
not Catholics themselves, but why they are so angry with 
those who a»e. Protestants differ amongst themselves, 
without calling each other fools and knaves. Nor, again, 
am T proposing to prove to you or to myself, that knaves 


and fools we are not, not idolaters, not blasphemers, not 
men of blood, not profligates, not steeped in sin and 
seared in conscience ; for we know each other and our- 
selves. No, my Catholic friends, whom I am addressing, 
I am neither attacking another'^s belief just now, nor de- 
fending myself: I am not engaging in controversy, 
though controversy is good in its place ; I do but pro- 
pose to investigate how Catholics come to be so trodden 
under foot, and spurnpd by a^people^ which is endowed by 
nature with many great qualities, moral and intellectual ; 
how it is that we are cried out against by the very stones, 
and bricks, and tiles, and chimney-pots of a populous busy 
place, such as this town which we inhabit. The clearer 
sense we have of our own honesty, of the singleness of 
our motives, and the purity of our aims, — of the truth, the 
beauty, the po^ver, of our religion, its exhaustless fund of 
consolation for the weary, and its especial correspondence 
to the needs of the weak, — so much the greater may well 
be our perplexity to find that its advocates for the most 
part do not even gain a hearing in this country ; that facts, 
and logic, and justice, and good sense, and right, and 
virtue, are all supposed to lie in the opposite scale ; and 
that it is bid be thankful and contenlied, if it is allowed 
to exist, if it is barely tolerated, in a free people. Siich 
a state of things is not only a trial to flesh and blo6d, 
but a discomfort to the reason and imagination: it is a 
riddle which frets the mind from the difficulty of solv- 
ing it. 

Now then for my fable, which is not the worse because 
it is old. The Man once invited the Lion to be his guest, 
and received him with princely hospitality. The Hon 
had the run of a magnificent palace, in which there vvefe 
a vast many things to admire. There were large saloons 


and long corridors, richly furnished and decorated, and 
filled with a profusion of fine specimens of sculpture and 
painting, the works of the first masters in either art. 
The subjects represented were various ; but the most 
prominent of them had an especial interest for the noble 
animal who stalked by them. It was that of the lion 
himself; and as the owner of the mansion led him from 
one apartment into another, he did not fail to direct his 
attention to the indirect homage which these various 
groups and tableaux paid to the importance of the lion 

There was, however, one remarkable feature in all of 
them, to which the host, silent as he was from politeness, 
seemed not at all insensible ; — that, diverse as were these 
representations, in one point they all agreed, that the 
man w^s always victorious, and the lion was always over- 
come. The man had it all his own way, and the lion 
was but a fool, and served to make him sport. There 
were exquisite works in marble, of Samson rending the 
lipw, like a kid, and young David taking the lion by 
the beard and choking him. There was the man who 
ran his arm down the lion's throat, and held him fast by 
the tongue ; and there was that other who, when carried 
off in his teeth, contrived to pull a penknife from his 
pocket, and lodge it in the monster's heart. Then there 
was a lion hunt, or what had been such, for the brute 
was rolling round in the agonies of death, and his con- 
queror on his bleeding horse was surveying them from 
a distance. There was a gladiator from the Roman 
amphitheatre in mortal struggle with his tawny foe, and 
it was plain w ho was getting the mastery. There was a 
lion in a net ; a lion in a trap ; four lions, yoked in 
harness, were drawing tiie car of a Roman emperor ; and 

B 2 


elsewhere stood Hercules, clad in the lion's skin, and 
with the club which demolished him. 

Nor was this all : the lion was not only triumphed 
over, mocked, spurned ; but he was tortured into extrava- 
gant forms, as if he were not only the slave and creature, 
but the very creation of man. He became an artistic 
decoration, and an heraldic emblazonment. The feet of 
alabaster tables fell away into lions' paws ; lions'" faces 
grinned on each side the shining mantelpiece ; and lions' 
mouths held tight the handles of the doors. There were 
sphinxes too, half lion, half woman ; there were lions 
rampant holding flags, lions couchant, lions passant, lions 
regardant ; lions and unicorns ; there were lions white, 
black, and red : in short, there was no variety of mis- 
conception or excess of indignity which was thought too 
great for the lord of the forest and the king of brutes. 
After he had gone over the mansion, his entertainer 
asked him what he thought of the splendours it con- 
tained ; and he in reply did full justice to the riches of 
its owner and the skill of its decorators, but he added, 
" Lions would have fared better, had lions been the 

You see the application, Brothers of the Oratory, 
before I make it. There are two sides to every thing ; 
there is a Catholic side of the argument, and there is a 
Protestant. There is a story of two knights who met 
together on opposite sides of a monument : one of them 
praised the gold on the shield of the warrior sculptured 
upon it, and the other answered that it was not gold but 
silver. On this issue they fought ; and, in the course of 
the combat, they changed places, and were flung, dis- 
mounted and wounded, each upon the ground occupied 
originally by his foe. Then they discovered that the 


shield was gold on one side, silver on the other, and 
that both of them were right, and both were wrong. 
Now Catholic and Protestant are not both right and 
both wrong : there is but one truth, not two truths ; and 
that one truth, we know, is in the Catholic religion. 
However, without going on just now to the question 
where the truth lies (which is a further question not to 
my present purpose), still it is certain, though truth is 
one, that arguments are many, and there are always two 
sides in every dispute, I do not say both of them sup- 
ported by arguments equally cogent and convincing, of 
course hot ; still, there is a Protestant side, and there is 
a Catholic side, and if you have heard but one of them, 
you will think nothing at all can be said on the other. If, 
then, a person listens only to Protestantism, and does 
not give fair play to the Catholic reply to it, of course he 
thinks Protestantism very rational and straightforward, 
and Catholics very absurd ; because he takes for granted 
the Protestant facts, which are commonly fictions, and 
opens his mind to Protestant arguments, which are always 
fallacies. A case may be made out for any one or any 
thing : the veriest villain at the bar of justice is an in- 
jured man, a victim, a hero, in the defence made for him 
by his counsel. There are writere who dress up vice till 
it looks like virtue ; Goethe, I believe, has invested 
adultery with a sentimental grace ; and Schiller''s drama 
of the " Robbers'" is said to have sent all the young 
Germans of his day i*pon the highway. The same has 
been reported of Gay's " Beggar's Opera ;" and in our 
own time a celebrated poet has thrown an interest over 
Cain, the first murderer. Any thing will become plau- 
sible, if you read all that can be said in its favour, and 
exclude all that can be said against it. 


Thus it comes to pass, that every one (as T may say), 
in a measure, has his own sphere of ideas and method of 
thought, in which he lives, and as to which he differs 
from every one else ; and, unless he is a philosopher, he 
will be apt to consider his own view of things, his own 
principles, his own tastes, just and right, and to despise 
others altogether. He despises other men and other 
modes of oj)inion and action, simply because he does not 
understand them. He is fixed in his own centre, refers 
every thing to it, and never throws himself, perhaps 
cannot throw himself, into the minds of strangers, or 
into a state of things not familiar to him. So it is 
especially between country and country; the Englishman 
thinks his beef and pudding worth all the resources 
of the French cuisine; and the Frenchman thought for 
certain, until the peace, that he had gained the battle 
of Trafalgar. Taking men as they are commonly found, 
they are not equal to appreciating the circle of ideas and 
the atmosphere of thought which is the life of another; 
and yet they will commonly be forward in criticizing and 
condemning it ; condemning it, not as having heard what 
it has to say for itself, but simply and precisely for the 
very opposite reason, because they have not. 

You know it is a favourite device with writers of fiction 
to introduce into their composition personages of very 
dififerent characters taking their respective views of one 
and the same transaction, or describing and criticizing 
each other ; the interest which such an exhibition creates 
in the reader lying in this, that each of the persons in 
question is living in his own world, and cannot enter into 
the world of another, and therefore paints that other in 
his own way, and presents us with a caricature instead of 
a likeness, though he does not intend it. I recollect an 


amusing passage of this kipd, out of many which ^"ght 
be cited, in one of Sir Walter Scott's tales, which 1 hope 
it is not unbecoming to quote, since it is so much to the 

A middle-aged , jcountry gentleman and his \yifc for 
a while have the care of a very young lady. The host is 
very matter-of-fact, and his youthful guest, on the other 
hand, is very romantic; and the humour of the narrative 
lies in the very opposite judgments passed respectively 
on the guest by the host, and on the host by the guest. 
The elderly man, with whom the sliadows and illusions 
of human existence are over, and who estimates things 
not by their appearance, but by their weight, writing to 
the father of his young charge with a good deal of kind 
feeling towards her, and some good-humoured contempt 
Qf her fligh^iness, tells him that she "has much of a 
romantic turn" in her disposition, with a " little of the 
love of admiration ;" that " she has a quick and lively 
imagination, and keen feelings, which are apt to exag- 
gerate both the good and evil they find in life;" that 
" she is generous and romantic, and writes six sheets 
9. week to a female correspondent." " You know," he 
says, " how I have jested with her about her soft melan- 
choly, and lonely walks at morning before any one is up, 
and in the moonhght, when all should be gone to bed, or 
set down to cards, which is the same thing." And he 
ends by speaking with some apprehension and dislike of 
a place of amusement near bis grounds, which is " the 
resort of walking gentlemen of all descriptions, poets, 
players, painters, musicians, who come to rave and recite 
and madden about this picturesque land of ours. It is 
paying some penalties for its beauties," he adds, " if they 


are the means of drawing this swarm of coxcombs toge- 

On the other hand, the young lady, writing to a school 
acquaintance of her own age, says, " If India be the land 
of magic, this is the country of romance. The scenery 
is such as nature brings together in her sublimest moods ; 
all the wildness of Salvator here, and there the fairy 
scenes of Claude. I am at present the inmate of an old 
friend of my father. He is a different, quite a different 
being from my father, yet he amuses and endures me. 
He is fat and good-natured, gifted with strong, shrewd 
sense, and some powers of humour ; and having been 
handsome, I suppose, in his youth, has still some preten- 
sion to be a heau gar^on, as well as an enthusiastic 
agriculturist. I delight to make him scramble to the 
tops of eminences, and to the foot of waterfalls ; and am 
obliged in turn to admire his turnips, his lucerne, and 
his timothy grass. He thinks me, I fancy, a simple, 
romantic miss ; so he rallies, hands, and hobbles (for the 
dear creature has got the gout too), and tells old stories 
of high life, of which he has seen a good deal ; and 
I listen, and smile, and look as pleasant and as simple as 
I can, and we do very well." 

This is but a sample of what meets us in life on every 
hand ; the young have their view of things, the old have 
theirs ; high and low, trader and farmer, each has his 
own, by which he measures every thing else, and which 
is proved to be but a view, and not a reality, because 
there are so many other views just as good as it is. 
What is true of individuals is true of nations ; however 
plausible, however distinct, however complete the national 
view of this or that matter may be, it does not follow 


that it is not a mere illusion, if it has not been duly 
measured with other views of the same. No conclusion is 
trustworthy which has not been tried by enemy as well as 
friend ; no traditions have a claim upon us which shrink 
from criticism, and dare not look a rival in the face. 
Now this is precisely the weak point of Protestantism in 
this country. It is jealous of being questioned ; it resents 
argument ; it flies to State protection ; it is afraid of the 
sun ; it forbids competition. How can you detect the 
sham, but by comparing it with the true? Your arti- 
ficial flowers have the softness and brilliancy of nature, 
till you bring in the living article fresh from the garden ; 
you detect the counterfeit coin by ringing it with the 
genuine. So is it in religion. Protestantism is at best 
but a fine piece of wax-work, which does not look dead, 
only because it is not confronted by that Church which 
really breathes and lives. The hving Church is the test 
and the confutation of all false Churches; therefore get rid 
of her at all hazards ; tread her down, gag her, dress her 
like a felon, starve her, bruise her features, if you would 
keep up your nuunbo-jumbo in its place of pride. By no 
manner of means give her fair play ; you dare not. The 
dazzling brightness of her glance, the sanctity beaming 
from her countenance, the melody of her voice, the grace 
of her movements, will be too nmch for you. Blacken 
her ; make her Cinderella in the ashes ; do not hear a 
word she says. Do not look on her, but daub her in 
your own way ; keep up the good old sign-post repre- 
sentation of her. Let her be a lion rampant, a griffin, 
a wivern, or a salamander. She shall be red or black ; 
she shall be always absurd, always imbecile, always mali- 
cious, always tyrannical. The lion shall not draw the 


lion, but the man shall draw him. , She shall be always 
worsted in the warfare with Protestantism ; ever un- 
horsed and disarmed, ever running away, ever prostrated, 
ever smashed and pounded, ever dying, ever dead ; and 
the only wonder is that she has to be killed so often, and 
the life so often to be trodden out of her, and her priests 
and doctors to be so often put down, and her monks and 
nuns to be exposed so often, and such vast sums to be sub- 
scribed by Piotestants, and such great societies to be kept 
up, and such millions of tracts to be written, and such 
persecuting acts to be passed in Parliament, in order tho- 
roughly, and once for all, and for the very last time, and for 
ever and ever to annihilate her once more. However, so 
it shall be ; it is, forsooth, our received policy as Eng- 
lishmen, our traditionary view of things, to paint up the 
Pope and Papists in a certain style. We have a school 
of painting all our own. Every character or personage 
has its own familiar emblem : Justice has her balance, 
Hope her anchor, Britannia her trident. Again, history 
has its conventional proprieties : Richard the First was 
the lion-hearted, and Richard the Third was the crook- 
back ; William the First was the Conqueror, and Wil- 
liam the Third, "the pious, glorious, and immortal." 
These are our first principles : they are unalterable ; like 
the pillars of heaven, touch them, and you bring our 
firmament down. True or false is not the question; 
there they are. So is it in the view we take of Popery ; 
its costume is fixed, like the wigs of our judges, or the 
mace of our mayors. Have not free-born Britons a right 
to think as they please ? We rule Popery to be what we 
say it is, not by history, but by act of Parliament ; not 
by sight and hearing, but by the national will. It is the 


will of the Legislature, it is the voice of the people, 
which gives facts their complexion, and logic its course, 
and ideas their definition. 

Now I repeat, in order to obviate misconception, I 
am neither assuming nor intending to prove that the 
Catholic Church comes from above (though, of course, 
I should not have become one of her children, unless 1 
firmly held her to be the direct work of the Almighty) ; 
but here I am only investigating how it is she comes to 
be so despised and hated among us ; since a religion 
need not incur scorn and animosity simply because it is 
not recognised as true. And, I say, the reason is this, 
that reasons of state, political and national, prevent her 
being heard in her defence. She is considered too absurd 
to be inquired into, and too corrupt to be defended, and 
too dangerous to be treated with equity and fair dealing. 
She is the victim of a prejudice which perpetuates itself, 
and gives birth to what it feeds upon. 

I will adduce two or three instances of what I mean. 
It happens every now and then that a Protestant, some- 
times an Englishman, more commonly a foreigner, thinks 
it worth while to look into the matter himself, and his 
examination ends, not necessarily in his conversion (though 
this sometimes happens too), but, at least, in his con- 
fessing the absurdity of the Outcry raised against the 
Catholic Chui'ch, and the beauty or the excellence, on 
the other hand, of those very facts and doctrines which 
are the alleged ground of it. What I propose to do, 
then, is simply to remind you of the popular feeling con- 
cerning two or three of the characteristics of her histoi-y 
and her teaching, and then to set against them the tes- 
timony of candid Protestants who have examined into 
them. This will be no proof that those candid Protest- 


ants are right, and the popular feelirifr wrong (though 
certainly it is more likely that they should be right who 
have impartially studied the matter, than those who 
have nothing whatever to say for their belief but that 
they have ever been taught it), but, at least, it will make 
it undeniable, that those who do not know there are two 
sides of the question (that is, the bulk of the English 
nation), are violent because they are ignorant, and that 
Catholics are treated with scorn and injustice simply 
because, though they have a good deal to say in their 
defence, they have never patiently been heard. 

For instance, the simple notion of most people is, that 
Christianity was very pure in its beginning, very corrupt 
in the middle age, and very pure in England now, though 
still corrupt every where else ; that in the middle age, a 
tyrannical institution, called the Church, arose and swal- 
lowed up Christianity ; that that Church is alive still, and 
has not yet disgorged its prey, except, as aforesaid, in 
our own favoured country ; but in the middle age, there 
was no Christianity any where at all, but all was dark, 
and horrible, as bad as paganism, or rathei- much worse. 
No one knew any thing about God, or whether there 
was a God or no, nor about Christ or His atonement ; 
for the blessed Virgin, and saints, and the Pope, and 
images, were worshipped instead ; and thus, so far from 
religion benefitting the generations of mankind who lived 
in that dreary time, it did them indefinitely more harm 
than good. Thus the Homilies of the Church of 
England say, that " in the pit of damnable idolatry all 
the world, as it were, drowned, continued until our age" 
(that is, the Reformation), " by the space of above 800 
years ... so that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, 
all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children, of 


whole Christendom (an horrible and most dreadful thing to 
think), have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry, 
of all other vices most detested of God, and most dam- 
nable to man." Accordingly it is usual to identify this 
period with that time of apostasy which is predicted in 
Scripture, the Pope being the man of sin, and the 
Church being the mother of abominations, mentioned in 
the Apocalypse. Thus Bishop Newton says, " In the 
same proportion as the power of the [Roman] empire 
decreased, the authority of the Church increased, the 
latter at the expense and ruin of the former ; till at 
length the Pope grew up above all, and ' the wicked 
one"* was fully manifested and ' revealed,'' or the ' lawless 
one,"' as he may be called ; for the Pope is declared 
again and again not to be bound by any law of God or 
man/" " The tyrannical power thus described by Daniel 
and St. Paul, and afterwards by St. John, is, both by 
ancients and moderns, generally denominated Antichrist, 
and the name is proper and expressive enough, as it may 
signify both the enemy of Christ and the vicar of Christ '.*" 
" The mind of Europe was prostrated at the feet of a 
priest," says a dissenting writer. " The stoutest hearts 
quailed at his frown. Seated on the throne of blasphemy, 
he ' spake great words against the Most High," and 
' thought to change times and laws." Many hated him, 
but all stood in awe of his power. Like Simon Magus, 
he ' bewitched the people." Like Nebuchadnezzar, 
' whom he would he slew." "" I need not give you the 
trouble of listening to more of such language, which you 
may buy by the yard at the first publisher"s shop you 
fall in with. Thus it is the man paints the lion. Go 

' Dissert. 22. 

14 1' R () r K S T A X 1' V I K W 

into the first Protestant church, or chapel, or public 
meeting which comes in your way, you will hear it from 
the pulpit or the platform. The Church (who can doubt 
it ?) is a sorceress, intoxicating the nations with a goblet 
of blood. 

However, all are not satisfied to learn by rote what 
they are to. affirm on matters so important, and to feed 
all their life long on the traditions of the nursery. They 
examine for themselves, and then forthwith we have 
another side of the question in dispute. For instance, 
I. say, hear what that eminent Protestant historian, 
M. Guizot, who was lately Prime Minister of France, 
says of the Church in that period, in which she is reported 
by our popular writers to have been most darkened and 
corrupted. You will observe, what makes his remarks 
the stronger, that, being a Protestant, he does not believe 
the Church really to have been set up by Christ Him- 
self, as a Catholic does, but to have taken her present 
form in the middle age ; and he contrasts, in the exti act 
I am about to read, the pure Christianity of Primitive 
times, with that later Christianity, as he consideis it, 
which took an ecclesiastical shape. 

" If the Church had not existed," he observes, " I 
know not what would have occurred during the decline 
of the Roman empire. I confine myself to purely human 
considerations, I cast aside every element foreign to the 
natural consequence of natural facts, and I say that, if 
Christianity had only continued, as it was in the early 
ages — a belief, a sentiment, an individual conviction, — it 
is probable it would have fallen amidst the dissolution of 
the empire, during the invasion of the barbarians. ... I 
do not think I say too much when I affirm, that, at the 


close of* the fourth, and the commencement of the fifth 
century, the Christian Church was the salvation of Chris- 
tianity ^" 

In Hke manner, Dr. Waddington, the present Pro- 
testant Dean of Durham, in his Ecclesiastical History, 
observes to the same purport ; " At this crisis," viz. 
"when the Western Empire was overthrown, and occu- 
pied by unbelieving barbarians," " at this crisis it is not 
too much to assert, that the Church was the instrument of 
heaven for the preservation of the religion. Christianity 
itself, unless miraculously sustained, would have been 
swept away from the surface of the West, had it not 
been rescued by an established body of ministers, or had 
that body been less zealous or less influential." And 
then he goes on to mention six special benefits which 
the Clmrch of the middle ages conferred on the world ; 
viz. first, she provided for the exercise of charity ; 
secondly, she inculcated the moral duties by means of 
her penitential discipline ; thirdly, she performed the 
office of legislation in an admirable way ; fourthly, she 
unceasingly strove to correct the vices of the existing 
social system, setting herself especially against the 
abomination of slaverj' ; fifthly, she laboured anxiously in 
the prevention of crime and of war ; and lastly, she has pre- 
served to these ages the literature of the ancient world." 

Now, without entering into the controversy about 
idolatry, sorcery, and blasphemy, which concerns matters 
of opinion^ are these Protestant testimonies which relate 
to matters of fact, compatible with such imputations ? Can 
blasphemy and idolatry be the salvation of Christianity ? 
Can sorcery be the promoter of charity, morality, and 
social improvement ? Yet, in spite of the fact of these 

* Europ. Civ., p. 56, Beckwith. 

16 V U O r 1'. S T A X T VI K w 

contrary views of the subject ; in spite of the nursery 
and school-room authors being against us, and the manly 
and original thinkers being in our favour, you will hear it 
commonly spoken of as notorious that the Church in the 
middle ages was a witch, a liar, a profligate, a seducer, 
and a bloodthirsty tyrant ; and we, who are her faithful 
children, are superstitious and slavish, because we enter- 
tain some love and reverence for her, who, as a number 
of her opponents confess, was then, as she is now, the 
mother of peace, and humanity, and order. 

So much for the middle ages ; next I will take an 
instance of modern times. If there is any set of men in 
the whole world who are railed against as the pattern of 
all that is evil, it is the Jesuit body. It is vain to ask 
their slanderers what they know of them ; did they ever 
see a Jesuit ? can they say whether they are many or 
few ? what do they know of their teaching ? " Oh ! it is 
quite notorious," they reply ; " you might as well deny 
the sun in heaven ; it is notorious that the Jesuits are a 
crafty, intriguing, unscrupulous, desperate, murderous, 
and exceedingly able body of men ; a secret society, ever 
plotting against liberty, and government, and progi*ess, 
and thought, and the prosperity of England. Nay, it is 
awful ; they disguise themselves in a thousand shapes, as 
men of fashion, farmers, soldiers, labourers, butchers, and 
pedlers ; they prowl about with handsome stocks, and 
stylish waistcoats, and gold chains about their persons, 
or in fustian jackets, as the case may be ; and they do not 
hesitate to shed the blood of any one whatever, prince or 
peasant, who stands in their way." Who can fathom 
the inanity of such statements? which are made, and 
therefoi-e, I suppose, believed, not merely by the igno- 
rant, but by educated men, who ought to know better. 


and will have to answer for their false witness. But all 
this is persisted in ; and it is affirmed that they were 
found to be too bad for Catholic countries, the govern- 
ments of which, it seems, in the course of the last century, 
forcibly obliged the Pope to put them down. 

Now I conceive that just one good witness, one person 
who has the means of knowing how things really stand, 
is worth a tribe of these pamphleteers, and journalists, 
and novelists, and preachers, and orators. So I will turn 
to a most impartial witness, and a very competent one ; 
one who was born of Catholic parents, was educated a 
Catholic, lived in a Catholic country, was ordained a 
Catholic priest, and then renouncing the Catholic reli- 
gion, and coming to England, became the friend and 
protege of the most distinguished Protestant Prelates of 
the present day, and the most bitter enemy of the faith 
which he had once professed ; I mean the late Rev. 
Joseph Blanco White. Now hear what he says about 
the Jesuits in Spain, his native country, at the time of 
their suppression. 

" The Jesuits •''," he says, " till the abolition of that 
order, had an almost unrivalled influence over the better 
classes of Spaniards. They had nearly monopolized the 
instruction of the Spanish youth, at which they toiled 
without pecuniary reward, and were equally zealous in 
promoting devotional feelings both among their pupils 

* I have omitted some clauses and sentences which eitiier expressed 
the opinions of the author, as distinct from his testimony, or which at 
least are irrelevant to the matter in hand ; which is simply to show, not 
that a Protestant can speak against (which no one can doubt), but what 
he can say in favour of this calumniated body ; however, to prevent mis- 
representation, the entire passage shall be given at the end of the 


and the people at large. . . . Whenever, as in France and 
Italy, literature was in high estimation, the Jesuits spared 
no trouble to raise among themselves men of eminence in 
that department. In Spain their chief aim was to pro- 
vide their houses with popular preachers, and zealous, yet 
prudent and gentle confessors. Pascal, and the Jansenist 
party, of which he was the organ, accused them of sys- 
tematic laxity in their moral doctrines ; but the charge, 
I believe, though plausible in theory, was perfectly ground- 
less in practice. . . . The influence of the Jesuits on Spanish 
morals, from every thing I have learned, was undoubtedly 
favourable. Their kindness attracted the youth from 
their schools to their company ; and . . . they greatly con- 
tributed to the preservation of virtue in that slippery age, 
both by the ties of affection, and the gentle check of 
example. Their churches were crowded every Sunday 
with regular attendants, who came to confess and receive 
the sacrament. . . . Their conduct was correct, and their 
manners refined. They kept up a dignified intercourse 
with the middling and higher classes, and were always 
ready to help and instruct the poor, without descending 
to their level. . . . Whatever we may think of the political 
delinquencies of their leaders, their bitterest enemies have 
never ventured to charge the Order of Jesuits with moral 
irregularities." Does this answer to the popular notion 
of a Jesuit ? Will Exeter Hall be content with the tes- 
timony of one who does not speak from hereditary preju- 
dice, but from actual knowledge ? Certainly not ; and in 
consequence it ignores all statements of the kind ; they 
are to be uttered, and they are to die ; and the received 
slander is to keep its place as part and parcel of the old 
stock in trade, and in the number of the heirlooms of 
Protestantism, the properties of its stage, the family 


pictures of its old mansion, in the great controversy 
between the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the children 
of men. 

Now I will go back to primitive times, which shall furnish 
me with a third instance of the subject I am illustrating. 
Protestants take it for granted that the history of the 
monks is a sore point with us ; that it is simply one of 
our difficulties ; that it at once puts us on the defensive, 
and is, in consequence, a brilliant and effective weapon 
in controversy. They fancy that Catholics can do no- 
thing, when monks are mentioned, but evade, explain 
away, excuse, deny, urge difference of times, and at the 
utmost make them out not quite so bad as they are 
reported. They think monks are the very types and 
emblems of laziness, uselessness, ignorance, stupidity, 
fanaticism, and profligacy. They think it a paradox to 
say a word in their favour, and they have converted their 
name into a title of reproach. As a Jesuit means a 
knave, so a monk means a bigot. Here, again, things 
would show very differently, if Catholics had the paint- 
ing ; but I will be content with a Protestant artist, the 
very learned, and thoughtful, and celebrated German 
historian, who is lately dead, Dr. Neander. No one can 
accuse him of any tendencies toward Catholicism, nor 
does he set about to compose a panegyric. He is a deep- 
read student, a man of facts, as a German should be ; 
and, as a narrator of facts, in his life of St. Chrysostom 
he writes thus : — 

" It was by no means intended that the monks should 
lead a life of listless contemplation ; on the contrary, 
manual labour was enjoined on them as a duty by their 
rational adherents, by Chrysostom, as well as Augustine, 
although many fanatical mystics, and advocates of an 

o 2 

20 P K O T I''. STAN T V I V. \V 

inactive life'' (who, by the way, were not Catholics, but 
heretics), " rejected, under the cloak of sanctity, all con- 
nexion of a laborious with a contemplative life. Cassian 
relates, that not only the monasteries of Egypt, but that 
the districts of Libya, when suffering from famine, and 
also the unfortunate men who languished in the prisons 
of cities, were supported by the labour of the monks. 
Augustine relates that the monks of Syria and Egypt 
were enabled, by their labour and savings, to send ships 
laden with provisions to distressed districts. The monks 
of the East were remarkable for their hospitality, although 
their cells and cloisters were infinitely poorer than those 
of their more recent brethren of the West. The most 
rigid monks, who lived only on salt and bread, placed 
before their guests other food, and at times consented to 
lay aside their accustomed severity, in order to persuade 
them to partake of the refreshments which were set 
before them. A monk on the Euphrates collected toge- 
ther many blind beggars, built dwellings for them, taught 
them to sing Christian hymns with him, and induced a 
multitude of men, who sought him from all classes, to 
contribute to their support. 

" Besides the promotion of love and charity, there was 
another object which induced the lawgivers of monachism 
to enjoin labour as an especial duty. They wished to 
keep the passions in subjection, and to maintain a due 
balance between the spiritual and physical powers of 
human nature, because the latter, if unemployed and 
under no control, easily exercise a destructive influence 
over the former. 

" Among the rules of Basil, we find the following deci- 
sion respecting the trades which formed the occupation 
of the monks. Those should be preferred, which did not 


interfere with a peaceable and tranquil life ; which occa- 
sioned but little trouble in the provision of proper mate- 
rials for the work, and in the sale of it when completed ; 
which required not much useless or injurious intercourse 
with men, and did not gratify irrational desires and 
luxury ; while those who followed the trades of weavers 
and shoemakers were permitted to labour so far as was 
required by the necessities, but by no means to admi- 
nister to the vanities of life. Agriculture, the art of 
building, the trades of a carpenter and a smith, were in 
themselves good, and not to be rejected ; but it was to 
be feared that they might lead to a loas of repose, and 
cause the monks to be much separated from each other. 
Otherwise, agricultural occupation was particularly to be 
recommended ; and it was by agriculture that the monks, 
at a later period, so much contributed to the civilization 
of the rude nations of the West. 

" The most venerated of the monks were visited by men 
of every class. A weighty word, one of those pithy sen- 
timents, uttered by some great monk, of which so many 
have been handed down to us, proceeding from the mouth 
of a man universally respected, and supported by the im- 
pression which his holy life and venerable appearance 
had created, when spoken at a right moment, oftentimes 
effected more than the long and repeated harangues 
of other men. The children were sent to the monks 
from the cities to receive their blessings ; and, on these 
occasions, their minds were strewed with the seeds of 
Christian truth, which took deep root. Thus Theodoret 
says of the Monk Peter ; ' He often placed me on his 
knees, and fed me with bread and grapes ; for my mother, 
having had experience of his spiritual grace, sent me to 
him once every week to receive his blessing."' 

" The duties of education were particularly recom- 


mended to the monks by Basil. They were enjoined to 
take upon themselves voluntarily the education of orphans ; 
the education of other youths, when entrusted to them 
by their parents. It was by no means necessary that 
these children should become monks ; they were, if fitted 
for it, early instructed in some trade or art ; and were 
afterwards at liberty to make a free choice of their voca- 
tion. The greatest care was bestowed on their religious 
and moral acquirements. Particular houses were ap- 
pointed, in which they were to be brought up under the 
superintendence of one of the oldest and most ex- 
perienced monks, known for his patience and benignity, 
that their faults might be corrected with paternal mild- 
ness and circumspect wisdom. Instead of the mythical 
tales, passages out of the Holy Scriptures, the history 
of the divine miracles, and maxims out of Solomon's 
Proverbs, were given them to learn by heart, that they 
might be taught in a manner at the same time instruc- 
tive and entertaining. 

"The monks of the East greatly contributed to the 
conversion of the heathen, both by their plain, sincere 
discourse, and by the veneration which their lives in- 
spired ; and their simple mode of living rendered it easy 
for them to establish themselves in any place." 

Now, the enemies of monks may call this an ex-parte 
statement, if they will, — though, as coming from a Pro- 
testant, one does not see with what justice it can undergo 
such an imputation. But that is not the point : I am 
not imposing this view of the Monastic Institute on any 
one : men may call Neander's representation ex-'parte^ 
they may doubt it, if they will ; 1 only say there are 
evidently two sides to the question, and therefore that 
the Protestant public, which is quite ignorant of more 
sides than one, aixd fancies none but a knave or a fool 


can doubt the received Protestant traditions on the sub- 
ject of monks, are for the very reason of their ignorance, 
first furiously positive that they are right, and next sin- 
gularly likely to be wrong. 

Avdi alteram partem, hear both sides, is generally an 
Englishman's maxim ; but there is one subject on which 
he has intractable prejudices, and resolutely repudiates 
any view but that which is familiar to him from his 
childhood. Rome is his Nazareth ; " Can any good 
come out of Nazareth ? " settles the question with him ;, 
happy rather, if he could be brought to imitate the 
earnest inquirer in the Gospel, who, after urging this ob- 
jection, went on nevertheless to obey the invitation made 
to him in consequence of it, " Come and see ! " 

And here I might conclude my subject, which has 
proposed to itself nothing more than to suggest to those 
whom it concerns, that they would have more reason to be 
confident in their view of the Catholic religion, if it ever 
had struck them that it needed some proof, if there evei* 
had occurred to their minds at least the possibility of truth 
being maligned, and Christ being called Beelzebub ; but 
I am tempted, before concluding, to go on to try whether 
something of a monster indictment similarly frightful 
and similarly fantastical, to that which is got up against 
Catholicism, might not be framed against some other 
institution or power, in its degree and place, of parallel 
greatness and excellence, to the communion of Rome. 
For this purpose I will take the British Constitution, 
which is so specially the possession, and so deservedly 
the glory, of our own people ; and in taking it, I need 
hardly say, I take it for the very reason that it is so 
rightfully the object of our wonder and veneration. I 


should be but a fool for my pains, if I laboured to prove 
it otherwise ; it is one of the greatest of human works, 
as admirable in its own line, to take the productions of 
genius in very various departments, as the Pyramids, as 
the wall of China, as the paintings of Raffaelle, as the 
Apollo Belvidere, as the plays of Shakspeare, as the 
Newtonian theory, and as the exploits of Napoleon. It 
soars, in its majesty, far above the opinions of men, 
and will be a marvel, almost a portent, to the end of 
time ; but for that very reason it is more to my purpose, 
when I would show you how even the British Consti- 
tution would fare, when submitted to the intellect of 
Exeter Hall, and handled by the instruments of those, 
whose highest effort at dissection, is to chop and to mangle. 
I will suppose, then, a speaker, and an audience too, 
who never saw England, never saw a member of parlia- 
ment, a policeman, a queen, or a London mob ; who never 
read the English history, nor studied any one of our philo- 
sophers, jurists, moralists, or poets ; but who has dipped 
into Blackstone and several English histories, and has 
picked up facts at third or fourth hand, and has got 
together a crude farrago of ideas, words, and instances, 
a little truth, a deal of falsehood, a deal of misrepresen- 
tation, a deal of nonsense, and a deal of invention. And 
most fortunately for my purpose, here is an account 
transmitted express by the private correspondent of a 
morning paper, of a great meeting held about a fortnight 
since at Moscow, under sanction of the Czar, on occa- 
sion of an attempt made by one or two Russian noble- 
men to spread British ideas in his capital. It seems the 
emperor thought it best in the present state of men's 
minds, when secret societies are so rife, to put down the 
movement by argument rather than by a military force ; 


and so he instructed the governor of Moscow to connive 
at the project of a great public meeting which should be 
open to the small faction of Anglo-maniacs or John 
Bullists, as they are popularly termed, as well as to the 
mass of the population. As many as ten thousand men, 
as far as the writer could calculate, were gathered toge- 
ther in one of the largest places of the city : a number 
of spirited and impressive speeches were made, in all of 
which, however, was illustrated the fable of the " Lion 
and the Man," the man being the Russ, and the hon our 
old friend the British ; but the most successful of all is 
said to have been the final harangue by a member of a 
junior branch of the Potemkin family, one of the im- 
perial aide-de-camps, who has spent the last thirty years 
in the wars of the Caucasus. This distinguished veteran, 
who has acquired the title of Blood-sucker, from his ex- 
traordinary gallantry in combat with the Circassian 
tribes, spoke at great length ; and the express contains 
a portion of his highly inflammatory address, of which, 
and of certain consequences which followed it, the Bri- 
tish minister is said already to have asked an explana- 
tion of the cabinet of St. Petersburgh : I transcribe it 
as it may be supposed to stand in the morning print : — 

The Count began by observing that every day, as it 
came, called on his countrymen more and more impor- 
tunately to choose their side, and to make a firm stand 
against a perfidious power, which arrogantly proclaims 
that there is nothing Hke the British Constitution in the 
whole world, and that no country can prosper without it ; 
which is yearly aggrandizing itself in East, West, and 
South, which is engaged in one enormous conspiracy 
against all states, and which was even aiming at modifying 



the old institutions of the North, and at di-essing up the 
army, navy, legislature, and executive of his own country 
in tiie livery of Queen Victoria. " Insular in situation,'' 
he exclaimed, " and at the back gate of the world, what 
has John Bull to do with continental matters, or witii 
the political traditions of our holy Russia ? " And yet 
there were men in that vei'y city who were so far the 
dupes of insidious propagandists and insolent traitors to 
their emperor, as to maintain that England had been a 
civilized country longer than Russia. On the contrary, 
he maintained, and he would shed the last drop of his 
blood in maintaining, that, as for its boasted constitution, 
it was a crazy old-fashioned piece of furniture, and an 
eyesore in the nineteenth century, and would not last a 
dozen years. He had the best information for saying so. 
He could understand those who had never crossed out of 
their island, listening to the songs about " Rule Bri- 
tannia," and " Roshif,'"'' and " Poor Jack," and the " Old 
English Gentleman," he understood and he pitied them ; 
but that Russians, that the conquerors of Napoleon, that 
the heirs of a paternal government, should bow the knee, 
and kiss the hand, and walk backwards, and perform 
other antics before the face of a limited monarch, this 
was the incomprehensible foolery which certain Russians 
had viewed with so much tenderness. He repeated, 
there were in that city, educated men, who had openly 
professed a reverence for the atheistical tenets and 
fiendish maxims of John BuUism. 

Here the speaker was interrupted by one or two mur- 
murs of dissent, and a foreigner, supposed to be a partner 
in a Scotch firm, was observed in the extremity of the 
square making earnest attempts to obtain a hearing. 
He was put down, however, amid enthusiastic cheering, 


and the Count proceeded with a warmth of feehng which 
increased the effect of the terrible invective which fol- 
lowed. He said he had used the words ''atheistical" 
and "fiendish" most advisedly, and he would give his 
reasons for doing so. What was to be said to any 
political power which claimed the attribute of Divinity 'i 
Was any term too strong for such a usurpation ? Now, 
no one would deny Antichrist would be such a power ; an 
Antichrist was contemplated, was predicted in Scripture, 
it was to come in the last times, it was to grow slowly, 
it was to manifest itself warily and craftily, and then to 
have a mouth speaking great things against the Divinity 
and against His attributes. This prediction was most 
literally and exactly fulfilled in the British Constitution. 
Antichrist was not only to usurp, but to profess to usurp 
the arms of heaven — he was to arrogate its titles. This 
was the special mark of the beast, and where was it ful- 
filled but in John BuUism ? " I hold in my hand," con- 
tinued the speaker, " a book which I have obtained under 
very remarkable circumstances. It is not known to the 
British people, it is circulated only among the lawyers, 
merchants, and aristocracy, and its restrictive use is 
secured only by the most solemn oaths, the most fearful 
penalties, and the utmost vigilance of the police. I 
procured it after many years of anxious search by the 
activity of an agent, and the co-operation of an English 
bookseller, and it cost me an enormous sum to make it 
my own. It is called ' Blackstone's Commentaries on 
the Laws of England,' and 1 am happy to make known 
to the universe its odious and shocking mysteries, known 
to few Britons, and certainly not known to the deluded 
persons whose vagaries have been the occasion of this 
meeting. I am sanguine in thinking that when they 



come to know the real tenets of John Bull, they will at 
once disown his doctrines with horror, and break off all 
connexion with his adherents. 

" Now, I should say, gentlemen, that this book while it 
is confined to certain classes is, on the other hand, of those 
classes, of judges, and lawyers, and privy councillors, and 
justices of the peace, and police magistrates, and clergy, 
and country gentlemen, the guide, and I may say, the gos- 
pel. I open the book, gentlemen, and what are the first 
words which meet my eyes ? ' The King can do no wrong.'' 
I beg you to attend, gentlemen, to this most significant 
assertion ; one was accustomed to think that no child of 
man had the gift of impeccability ; one had imagined 
that, simply speaking, impeccability was a divine attri- 
bute ; but this British Bible, as 1 may call it, distinctly 
ascribes an absolute sinlessness to the King of Great 
Britain and Ireland. Observe, I am using no words of 
my own, I am still but quoting what meets my eyes in 
this remarkable document. The words run thus : ' It 
is an axiom of the law of the land that the King himself 
can do no wrong.'' Was I wrong, then, in speaking of 
the atheistical maxims of JohnbuUism ? But this is far 
from ail : the writer goes on actually to ascribe to the 
Sovereign (I tremble while I pronounce the words) 
absolute perfection ; for he speaks thus ; ' The law 
ascribes to the King in his political capacity absolute 
perfection; the King can do no wrong!'' (groans.) 
One had thought that no human power could thus be 
described, but the British legislature, judicature, and 
jurisprudence, have had the unspeakable effrontery to 
impute to their crowned and sceptred idol, to their 
doll,"" — here cries of "shame, shame," from the same 
individual who had distinguished himself in an earlier 


part of the speech — " to this doll, this puppet whom 
they have dressed up with a lion and a unicorn, the 
attribute of absolute perfection ! " Here the indi- 
vidual who had several times interrupted the speaker, 
sprung up, in spite of the efforts of persons about him to 
keep him down, and cried out, as far as his words could 
be collected, " You cowardly liar, our dear good little 
Queen," when he was immediately saluted with a cry of 
" Turn him out," and soon made his exit from the meeting. 

Order being restored, the Count continued ; " Gentle- 
men, I could wish you would have suffered this emissary 
of a foreign potentate (immense cheering), who is in- 
sidiously aiming at forming a political party among us, 
to have heard to the end that black catalogue of charges 
against his Sovereign, which as yet I have barely com- 
menced. Gentlemen, I was saying that the Queen of 
England challenges the divine attribute of absolute 
PERFECTION ! but, as if this were not enough, this writer 
continues, ' The King, moreover, is not only incapable of 
doing wrong, but even of thinking wrong ! ! he can 
never do an {mpr^oper thing; in him is no folly or 
WEAKNESS !!!' " (Shudders and cheers from the vast as- 
semblage, which lasted alternately some minutes.) At 
the same time a respectably dressed gentleman below 
the platform, begged permission to look at the book, it 
was immediately handed to him ; after looking at the 
passages, he was observed to inspect carefully the title- 
page and binding; he then returned it without a word. 

The Count in resuming his speech, observed that he 
courted and challenged investigation, he should be happy 
to answer any question, and he hoped soon to publish by 
subscription a translation of the work, from which he 
had been quoting. Then, resuming the subject, where 


he had left it, he made some most forcible and impressive 
reflections on the miserable state of those multitudes, 
who, in spite of their skill in the mechanical arts and 
their political energy, were in the leading strings of so 
foul a superstition. The passage he had quoted was the 
first and mildest of a series of blasphemies so prodigious, 
that he really feared to proceed, not only from disgust 
at the necessity of uttering them, but lest he should be 
taxing the faith of his hearers beyond what appeared 
reasonable limits. Next then, he drew attention to 
the point, that the English Sovereign distinctly claimed, 
according to the same infamous work, to be the '•'•fount 
of justice;" and, that there might be no mistake in the 
matter, the author declared, " that she is never hound in 
justice to do any thingT What then is her method of 
acting? Unwilling as he was to defile his lips with so 
profane an indecency, he must tell them that this abomi- 
nable wi'iter coolly declared that the Queen, a woman, 
only did acts of reparation and restitution as a matter of 
grace I He was not a theologian, he had spent his life 
in the field, but he knew enough of his religion to be 
able to say that grace was a word especially proper to 
the appointment and decrees of Divine Sovereignty. All 
his hearers knew perfectly well, that nature was one 
thing, grace another ; and yet here was a poor child of 
clay claiming to be the fount, not only of justice, but 
of grace. She was making herself a first cause of, 
not merely natural, but spiritual excellence, and doing 
nothing more or less than simply emancipating herself 
from her Maker. The Queen, it seemed, never obeyed 
the law on compulsion, according to Blackstone ; that 
is, her Maker could not compel her. This was no mere 
deduction of his own, as directly would be seen. Let it 


be observed, the Apostle called the predicted Antichrist 
" the wicked one," or as it might be more correctly trans- 
lated, " the lawless," because he was to be the proud 
despiser of all law ; now, wonderful to say, this was the 
very assumption of the British Parliament. " The power 
of Parliament," said Sir Edward Coke, " is so tran- 
scendent and absolute that it cannot be confined within 
any bounds ! ! It has sovereign and uncontrollable 
authority ! " Moreover, the Judges had declared that 
" it is so high and mighty in its nature that it may maJce 
late, and that which is law it may make xo law !" 
Here verily was the mouth speaking great things, but 
there was more behind, which, but for the atrocious 
sentiments he had already admitted into his mouth, he 
really should not have the courage, the endurance to 
utter. It was sickening to the soul, and intellect, and 
feelings of a Russ, to form the words on his tongue, 
and the ideas in his imagination. He would say what 
must be said as quickly as he could, and without com- 
ment. The gallant speaker then delivered the following 
passage from Blackstone's volume, in a very distinct and 
articulate whisper, " Some have not scrupled to call its 
power— the OMNIPOTENCE of Parliament !" No one 
can conceive the thrilling effect of these few words ; they 
were heard all over the immense assemblage : everv man 
turned pale, a dead silence followed ; one might have 
heard a pin drop. A pause of some minutes followed. 

The speaker continued, evidently labouring under in- 
tense emotion : — " Have you not heard enough, my dear 
compatriots, of this hideous system of John Bullism ? was 
I wrong in using the words fiendish and atheistical when 
I entered upon this subject ? and need I proceed further 
with impure details, which cannot really add to the 


monstrous bearing of the passages I have ah-eady read to 
you ? If the Queen ' cannot do wrong/ if she ' cannot even 
think wrong,'' if she is ' absolute perfection,"' if she has 
' no folly, no weakness," if she is the ' fount of justice,' if 
she is ' the fount of grace,' if she is simply ' above 
law,' if she is ' omnipotent,' what wonder that the law- 
yers of Johnbullism should also call her 'sacred?' 
What wonder that they should speak of her as 
' majesty ?' what wonder that they should speak of her 
as a 'superior being?' Here, again, I am using the 
words of the book I hold in my hand. ' The people' 
(my blood runs cold while I repeat them) ' are led to 
consider their Sovereign in the light of a supkriok 
BEING.' ' Every one is under him,' says Bracton, 
'and he is under no one.' Accordingly the law-books 
call him ' Vicarius Dei in terra,' ' the Vicar of God on 
earth ;' a most astonishing fulfilment, you observe, of 
the prophecy, for Antichrist is a Greek word which 
means ' Vicar of Christ.' What wonder, under these 
circumstances, that Queen Elizabeth, assuming the attri- 
bute of the Creator, once said to one of her Bishops ; 
' Proud Prelate, / made you, and I can unmake you ! ' 
What wonder that James the First had the brazen 
assurance to say that, ' As it is Atheism and blasphemy 
in a creature to dispute the Deity, so it is presumption 
and sedition in a subject to dispute a King in the height 
of his power.' Moreover, his subjects called him the 
' breath of their nostrils ;' and my Lord Clarendon, the 
present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in his celebrated 
History of the Rebellion, declares that the same haughty 
monarch actually, on one occasion, called himself ' a 
god ;' and in his great legal digest, commonly called the 
' Constitutions of Clarendon,' he gives us the whole 


account of the same king's banishing the Archbishop, 
St. Thomas of Canterbury, for refusing to do him 
homage. Lord Bacon, too, went nearly as far when he 
called him ' Deaster quidam' ' some sort of little god.' 
Alexander Pope, too, calls Queen Anne a goddess ; and 
Addison, with a servility only equalled by his profane- 
ness, cries out, ' Thee, goddess, thee Britannia's isle 
adores.' Nay, even at this verj- time, when public 
attention has been drawn to the subject, Queen Victoria 
causes herself to be represented on her coins as the god- 
dess of the seas, with a pagan trident in her hand. 

" Gentlemen, can it surprise you to be told, after such 
an exposition of the blasphemies of England, that, as- 
tonishing to say. Queen Victoria is distinctly pointed out 
in the Book of Revelation as having the number of 
the beast ? You may recollect that number is 666 ; now 
she came to the throne in the year '37, at which date 
she was eighteen years old. Multiply then 37 by 18 
and you have the very number 666, which is the mystical 
emblem of the lawless King ! ! ! 

" No wonder, then, with such monstrous pretensions, and 
such awful auguries, that Johnbullism is, in act and deed, 
as savage and profligate, as in profession it is saintly and 
innocent. Its annals are marked with blood and corrup- 
tion. The historian Hallam, though one of the ultra- 
bullist party, in his Constitutional History, admits, that 
the English tribunals are ' disgraced by the brutal man- 
ners and iniquitous partiality of the bench.' ' The 
general behaviour of the bench,' he says elsewhere, 
' has covered it with infamy.' Soon after, he tells us 
that the dominant faction inflicted on the High Church 
Clergy " the disgrace and remorse of perjury." The 
English Kings have been the curse and shame 



of human nature. Richard the First boast(>d that the 
evil spirit was the father of his family ; of Henry the 
Second, St. Bernard said, ' From the devil he came, and 
to the devil he will go ;' William the Second was killed 
by the enemy of man, to whom he had sold himself, while 
hunting in one of his forests ; Henry the First died of 
eating lampreys ; John died of eating peaches ; Clarence, 
a king's brother, was drowned in a butt of malmsey wine ; 
Richard the Third put to death his Sovereign, his Sove- 
reign''s son, his two brothers, his wife, two nephews, and 
half a dozen friends ; Henry the Eighth successively 
married and murdered no less than six hundred women. 
I quote the words of the ' Edinburgh Review,"" that, 
according to Hollinshed, no less than 70,000 persons 
died under the hand of the executioner in his reign. 
Sir John Fortescue tells us that in his day there were 
more persons executed for robbeiy in England in one 
year than in France in seven. Four hundred persons a 
year were executed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
Even so late as the last century, in spite of the continued 
protests of foreign nations, in the course of seven years 
there were 428 capital convictions in London alone. 
Burning of children, too, is a favourite punishment with 
John Bull, as may be seen in this same Blackstone, who 
notices the burning of a girl of thirteen given by Sir 
Matthew Hale. The valets always assassinate their 
masters ; lovers uniformly strangle their sweethearts ; 
the farmers and the farmers' wives universally beat their 
apprentices to death ; and their lawyers in the inns of 
court strip and starve their servants, as has appeared 
from remarkable investigations in the law courts during 
the last year. Husbands sell their wives by public auc- 
tion with a rope round their necks. An intelligent 


Frenchman, M. Pellet, who visited London in 1815, 
deposes that he saw a number of sculls on each side of 
the river Thames, and he was told they were found 
especially thick at the landing-places among the water- 
men. But why multiply instances, when the names of 
those two-legged tigers. Rush, Thistlewood, Thurtell, the 
Mannings, Colonel Kirke, Claverhouse, Simon de Mont- 
fort, Strafford, the Duke of Cumberland, Warren Hast- 
ings, and Judge Jeffreys, are household words all over 
the earth ? Johnbullism, through a space of 800 years, 
is semper idem, unchangeable in evil. One hundred and 
sixty offences are punishable with death. It is death to 
live with gipsies for a month ; and Lord Hale mentions 
thirteen persons as having, in his day, suffered death upon 
it at one assize. It is death to steal a sheep, death to 
rob a warren, death to steal a letter, death to steal a 
handkerchief, death to cut down a cherry-tree. And, 
after all, the excesses of Johnbullism at home are mere 
child's-play to the oceans of blood it has shed abroad. 
It has been the origin of all the wars which have deso- 
lated Europe ; it has fomented national jealousy, and the 
antipathy of castes in every part of the world ; it has 
plunged flourishing states into the abyss of revolution. 
The Crusades, the Sicilian Vespers, the wars of the Re- 
formation, the thirty years' war, the war of succession, 
the seven years' war, the American war, the French 
Revolution, all are simply owing to John Bull ideas ; 
and, to take one definite instance, in the course of the 
last war the deaths of two millions of the human race 
lie at his door ; for the Whigs themselves, from first to 
last, and down to this day, admit and proclaim, without 
any hesitation or limitation, that that war was simply 
and entirely the work of Johnbullism, and needed not, 

D 2 



and would not have been, but for its influence, and its 

" Such is that ' absolute perfection, without folly and 
without weakness,' which, revelling in the blood of man, 
is still seeking out her victims, and scenting blood all 
over the earth. It is that woman Jezebel, who fulfils 
the prophetic vision, and incurs the prophetic denuncia- 
tion. And, strange to say, a prophet of her own has not 
scrupled to apply to her that very appellation. Dead to 
good and evil, the children of Jezebel glory in the name ; 
and ten years have not passed since, by a sort of infatua- 
tion, one of the very highest Tories in the land, a minis- 
ter, too, of the established religion, hailed the blood- 
stained Monarchy under the very title of the mystical 
sorceress. Jezebel surely is her name, and Jezebel is 
her nature; for, drunk with the spiritual wine-cup of 
wrath, and given over to believe a lie, at length she has 
ascended to heights which savour rather of madness than 
of pride ; she babbles absurdities, and she thirsts for im- 
possibilities. Gentlemen, I am speaking the words of 
sober seriousness ; I can prove what I say to the letter ; 
the extravagance is not in me, but in the object of my 
denunciation. Once more I appeal to the awful volume 
I hold in my hands. I appeal to it, I open it, I cast it 
from me. Listen, then, once again ; it is a fact ; Jeze- 
bel has declared her own omnipresence. ' A consequence 
of the royal prerogatives,' says the antichristian author, 
'is the legal ubiquity of the King!' 'His Majesty 
is always present in all his courts : his judges are the 
mirror by which the King's image is reflected ;' and 
further, ' From this ubiquity'' (you see he is far from 
shrinking from the word), ' from this ubiquity it follows 
that the Sovereign can never be nonsuit!!' Gentle- 


men, the sun would set before I told you one hundredth 
part of the enormity of this child of Moloch and Belial. 
Inebriated with the cup of insanity, and flung upon the 
stream of recklessness, she dashes down the cataract of 
nonsense, and whirls amid the pools of confusion. Like 
the Roman Emperor, she actually has declared herself 
immortal ! she has declared her eternity ! Again, I am 
obliged to say it, these are no words of mine ; the tre- 
mendous sentiment confronts me in black and crimson 
characters in this diabolical book. ' In the law,' says 
Blackstone, 'the Sovereign is never to die!'' Again, 
with still more hideous expressiveness, ' The law ascribes 
to the Sovereign an absolute IMMORTALITY ! !' 
' The King never dies.' 

" And now, gentlemen, your destiny is in your own 
hands. If you are willing to succumb to a power which 
has never been contented with what she was, but has 
been for centuries extending her conquests in both 
hemispheres, then the humble individual who has ad- 
dressed you will submit to the necessary consequence ; 
will resume his military dress, and return to the Cauca- 
sus; but if, on the other hand, as I believe, you are 
resolved to resist unflinchingly this flood of satanical 
imposture and foul ambition, and force it back into the 
ocean ; if, not from hatred of the English, — far from it, 
— from love to them (for a distinction must ever be drawn 
between the nation and its dominant JohnbuUism) ; if, 
I say, from love to them as brothers, from a generous 
determination to fight their battles, from an intimate 
consciousness that they are in their secret hearts Hus- 
»ians, that they are champing the bit of their iron lot, 
and are longing for you as their deliverers ; if from these 


lofty notions, as well as from a burning patriotism, you 
will form the high resolve to annihilate this dishonour of 
humanity ; if you loathe its sophisms, ' De minimis non 
curat lex,"" and ' Malitia supplet setatem,"" and ' Tres 
faciunt collegium,'' and ' Impotentia excusat legem,' and 
' Possession is nine points of the law,' and ' The greater 
the truth, the greater the libel,'' — principles which sap 
the very foundations of morals ; if you wage war to the 
knife with its blighting superstitions of primogeniture, 
gavelkind, mortmain, and contingent remainders ; if you 
detest, abhor, and abjure the tortuous maxims and per- 
fidious provisions of its habeas corpus, quare expedit, and 
qui tarn (hear, hear) ; if you scorn the mummeries of its 
wigs, and bands, and coifs, and ermine (vehement cheer- 
ing) ; if you trample and spit upon its accursed fee 
simple and fee tail, villanage, and free soccage, fiefs, 
heriots, seizins, feuds (a burst of cheers, the whole meet- 
ing in commotion) ; its shares, its premiums, its post- 
obits, its percentages, its tariffs, its broad and narrow 
gauge/'' — Here the cheers became frantic, and drowned 
the speaker''s voice, and a most extraordinary scene of 
enthusiasm followed. One half the meeting was seen 
embracing the other half; till, as if by the force of a 
sudden resolution, they all poured out of the square, and 
proceeded to break the windows of all the British resi- 
dents. They then formed into procession, and directing 
their course to the great square before the Kremlin, they 
dragged through the mud, and then solemnly burnt, an 
effigy of John Bullism, which had been provided before- 
hand by the managing committee, a lion and unicorn, 
and a Queen Victoria. These being fully consumed, 
they dispersed quietly ; and by ten o''clock at night the 


streets were profoundly quiet, and the silver moon looked 
down in untroubled lustre on the city of the Czars. 

Now, my Brothers of the Oratory, I protest to you my 
full conviction that I have not caricatured this parallel at 
all. Were I, indeed, skilled in legal matters, I could 
have made it far more natural, plausible, and complete ; 
but, as for its extravagance, I say deliberately, and have 
means of knowing what I say, having once been a Pro- 
testant, and being now a Catholic, — knowing what is said 
and thought of Catholics, on the one hand, and, on the 
other, knowing what they really are, — I deliberately assert 
that no absurdities contained in the above sketch can 
equal, nay, that no conceivable absurdities can surpass, 
the absurdities which are firmly believed of Catholics by 
sensible, kind-hearted, well-intentioned Protestants. Such 
is the consequence of having looked at things all on one 
side, and shutting the eyes to the other. 



Considering, what is as undeniable a fact as that there 
is a country called France, or an ocean called the 
Atlantic, the actual extent, the renown, and the mani- 
fold influence of the Catholic religion, — considering that 
it surpasses in territory and in population any other 
Christian communion, nay surpasses them all put toge- 
ther, — considering that it is the religion of two hundred 
millions of souls, that it is found in every quarter of the 
globe, that it penetrates into all classes of the social 
body, that it is received by entire nations, that it is so 
multiform in its institutions, and so exuberant in its 
developments, and so fresh in its resources, as any 
tolerable knowledge of it will be sure to bring home to 
our minds ; — that it has been the creed of men the most 
profound and the most refined, and the source of works 
the most beneficial, the most arduous, and the most 
beautiful ; — and, moreover, considering that, thus ubi- 
quitous, thus commanding, thus intellectual, thus ener- 



getic, thus efficient, it has remained one and the same 
for centuries, — considering that all this must be owned 
by its most virulent enemies, explain it how they will ; — 
surely it is a phenomenon the most astounding, that a 
nation like our own should so manage to hide this fact 
from their minds, to intercept their own vision of it, as 
habitually to scorn, and ridicule, and abhor the pro- 
fessors of that religion, as being, from the nature of the 
case, ignorant, unreasoning, superstitious, base, and 
grovelling. It is familiar to an Englishman to wonder 
and to pity the recluse and the devotee who surround 
themselves with a high inclosure, and ignore what is on 
the other side of it ; but was there ever such an in- 
stance of self-sufficient, dense, and ridiculous bigotry, as 
that which rises up and walls in the minds of our fellow- 
countrymen from all knowledge of one of the most re- 
markable phenomena which the history of the world has 
seen ! This broad fact of Catholicism, as real as the 
continent of America, or the Milky Way, which they 
cannot deny, Englishmen will not entertain ; they shut 
their eyes, they thrust their heads into the sand, and 
try to get rid of a great vision, a great reality, under 
the name of Popery. They drop a thousand years 
from the world's chronicle, and, having steeped them 
thoroughly in sin and idolatry, would fain drown them in 
oblivion. Whether for philosophic remark or for histo- 
rical research, they will not recognize, what infidels re- 
cognize as well as Catholics, the vastness, the grandeur, 
the splendour, the loveliness of the manifestations of this 
time-honoured ecclesiastical confederation. Catholicism 
is for fifteen hundred years as much a fact, and as great 
a one (to put it on the lowest ground) as the imperial 
sway of Great Britain for a hundred ; how can it then 


be imbecile or extravagant to believe in it and to join it, 
even granting it were an error ? But this island, as 
far as religion is concerned, really must be called one 
large convent, or rather workhouse ; the old pictures 
hang on the walls : the world-wide churcli is chalked up 
on every side as a vvivern or a griiffin ; no gleam of 
light finds its way in from without ; the thick atmo- 
sphere refracts and distorts such straggling rays as enter 
in. Why, it is not even a camera ohscura ; cut off from 
Christendom though it be, at least it might have a true 
picture of that Christendom cast in miniature upon its 
floor ; but in this inquisitive age, when the Alps are 
crested, and seas fathomed, and mines ransacked, and 
sands sifted, and rocks cracked into specimens, and 
beasts caught and catalogued, as little is known by Eng- 
lishmen of the religious sentiments, the religious usages, 
the religious notions, the religious ideas of two hundred 
millions of Christians, poured to and fro, among them 
and around them, as if, I will not say, they were Tartars, 
or Patagonians, but as if they inhabited the moon. 
Verily, were the Catholic Church in the moon, they 
would gaze on her with more patience and delineate her 
with more accuracy, than they do now. 

This phenomenon is what I in part brought before 
you in my last Lecture ; I said we were thought dupes 
and rogues, because we were not known ; because our 
countrymen would not be at the pains, or could not stand 
the shock, of realizing that there are two sides to every 
question, and that in this particular question, perhaps, 
they had taken the false side. And this evening I am 
proceeding to the inquiry how, in a century of light, 
when we have rewritten our grammars, and revolution- 
ized our chronology, all this can possibly come to pass ; 

K 2 


how it is, the old family picture of the Man and the Lion 
keeps its place, though all the rest of John Bull's furni- 
ture has been condemned and has been replaced. Alas ! 
that he should be inspecting the silks, and the china, and 
the jeweh-y of East and West, but refuse to bestow a 
like impartial examination on the various forms of Chris- 
tianity ! 

Now, if I must give the main and proximate cause of 
this remarkable state of mind, I must simply say that 
Englishmen go by that very mode of information in its 
worst shape, which they are so fond of objecting to 
Catholics ; they go by tradition, immemorial unau- 
thenticated tradition. I have no wish to make a 
rhetorical point, or to dress up a polemical argu- 
ment. T wish you to investigate the matter philoso- 
phically, and to come to results, which, not j'ou only. 
Brothers of the Oratory, who are Catholics, but all sen- 
sible men will perceive to be just and true. I say, then, 
Englishmen entertain their present monstrous notions of 
us mainly because those notions are received on infor- 
mation, not authenticated, but immemorial. This it is 
that makes them entertain those notions : they talk 
much of free inquiry, but towards us, they do not dream 
of practising it ; they have been taught what they hold, 
in the nursery, in the school-room, in the lecture-class, 
from the pulpit, in the newspaper, in society. Each 
man teaches the other : " How do you know it ?"" " Be- 
cause he told me;" "And how does he know it?" 
" Because / told him ,•" or, at very best advantage, " We 
both know it because it was so said when we were young ; 
because no one ever said the contrary ; because T recol- 
lect what a noise, when I was young, the Catholic Re- 
lief Bill made : because my father and the old clergyman 


said so, and Lord Eldon, and George the Tiiird ; and 
there was Mr. Pitt obliged to give up office, and Lord 
George Gordon, long before that, made a riot, and the 
Catholic Cliapels were burned down all over the country." 
Well, these are your grounds for knowing it ; and how 
did those energetic Protestants whom you have njen- 
tioned, know it themselves ? Why, they were told by 
others before them, and those others by others again a 
great time back ; and there the telling and teaching is 
lost in fog : and this is mainly what has to be said for 
the Anti-Catholic notions in question. Now this is to 
believe on tradition. 

Take notice, my Brothers, I am not reprobating the 
proper use of tradition ; it has its proper place and its 
true service. By tradition is meant, what has ever been 
said, as far as we know, though we do not know how it 
came to be said, and for that very reason think it true, 
because else it would not be said. Now tradition is of 
great and legitimate use as an initial means of gaining 
notions about historical and other facts ; it is the way 
in which things first come to us ; it is natural and neces- 
sary to trust it ; it is an informant we make use of daily. 
Life is not long enough for proving every thing ; we are 
obliged to take a great many things upon the credit of 
others. Moreover, tradition is really a ground in reason, 
an argument for believing, to a certain point ; but then, 
observe, we do not commonly think it right and safe, on 
the score of mere vague testimony, to keep our eyes 
and ears so very close to evei'y other evidence, every 
other means of proof, and to be so furiously certain and 
so energetically positive that we know all about the 
matter in question. No, we open our senses wide to 
what may bo said on the other side. We make use of 


tradition, but we are not content with it : it is enough to 
begin with, not enough to finish upon. 

Tradition then being information, not authenticated, 
but immemorial, is sl prima facie evidence of the facts 
which it witnesses. It is sufficient to make us take a 
thing for granted, in default of real proof ; it is sufficient 
for our having an opinion about it ; it is sufficient often 
to make us feel it to be safest to act in a certain way 
under circumstances ; it is not sufficient in reason to 
make us sure, much less to make us angry with those 
who take a different view of the matter. It is not suffi- 
cient to warrant us to dispense with proof the other way, 
if it be offered to us. Supposing, for instance, there was 
a general belief or impression in England, running up 
beyond the memory of man, though unsupported by any 
distinct evidence, that the coniposer Tallis was the author 
of the Protestant Hundredth Psalm tune, or that Charles 
the Second was poisoned, or that Bishop Butler of Dur- 
ham died a Catholic, I consider we certainly should have 
acquiesced in the tradition, taken it for granted, and made 
it our own, as long as it was our only means of forming 
an opinion on the respective points in question. We 
should have thought the fact to be such, while there was 
nothing to set against it. Nor would any other course 
have been reasonable. But, supposing, in contravention 
of these traditions, a manuscript of the Psalm tune in 
question was found in some German library, in the hand- 
writing of Luther ; or supposing a statement existed 
purporting to be drawn up by Charles's medical attend- 
ants, accounting for his death and attributing it, with all 
appearance of truth, to some natural complaint ; or 
again, supposing his death was imputed to a very un- 
likely person. Bishop Ken or Mr. Evelyn ; or supposing 


Butler's Chaplain had left an account of his last hours, 
from which it was demonstrable that up to the last daj 
of his life he was a Protestant ; should we passionately 
reject, or superciliously make light of this separate evi- 
dence, because we were content with our tradition I or 
if we were tempted to do so, could we possibly defend our 
conduct in reason, or approve it to another ? Surely it 
would be as extravagant to refuse the presumptions or 
the evidence offered us in the second place, as to refuse 
the tradition in the first. Thus a tradition, being an 
anonymous informant, is of force, only under the pro- 
viso that it cannot be plausibly disputed. 

I am speaking of a single or solitary tradition ; for if 
there be two or three distinct traditions, all saying the 
same thing, then it is a very different matter : then, as in 
the case of two or three independent witnesses in a ju- 
dicial proceeding, there is at once a cumulation of evi- 
dence, and its joint effect is very great. Thus, supposing, 
besides the current local belief in England, tiiere was a 
tradition, in some out of the way district in Ireland, to 
the effect that a certain family had gained its estates in 
reward for the share which its ancestor had in the assas- 
sination of Charles the Second, we should certainly con- 
sider it at least a singular coincidence ; for it vv'ould be a 
second tradition, and, if proved to be distinct and inde- 
pendent, would quite alter the influence of the first upon 
our minds, just as two witnesses at a trial produce an 
effect on judge and jury, simply different from what either 
of them would produce by himself. And in this way a 
multiplication of traditions may make a wonderfully 
strong proof, strong enough even for a person to die for, 
rather than consent to deny the fact attested ; and, tiiere- 
fore, strong enough in reason for him to be very positive 


upon, very much excited, very angry, and very deter- 
mined. But when such strong feeling and pertinacity of 
purpose are created by a mere single and solitary tra- 
dition, I cannot call that state of mind conviction, but 

Yet this, I must maintain, is the sort of ground on 
which Protestants are so certain, that the Catholic Church 
is a simple monster of iniquity. If you asked the first 
person you met why he believed that our religion was so 
baneful and odious, he would not say : " I have had good 
proofs of it ;" or, "I know Catholics too well to doubt it;" 
or, " I am well read in histori/, and I can vouch for it ;" 
or, " I have lived such a long time in Catholic countries, 
I ought to know C- — (of course T do not mean that no 
one would make such a reply, but I mean that it would 
not be the reply of the mass of men : far from it.) No, 
single out a man from the multitude, and he would say 
something of this sort : " I am sure it is ;" he will look 
significant, and say, " You will find it a hard job to make 
me think otherwise ;" or he will look wise, and say, " I 
can make a pretty good guess how things go on among 
you ;" or he will be angry, and cry out, " Those fellows, 
the priests, I would not believe them, though they swore 
themselves black ;" or he will speak loudly, and overbear 
and drown all remonstrance, "It is too notorious for 
proof ; every one knows it ; every book says it -, it is a 
foregone conclusion. It is rather too much in the nine- 
teenth century to be told to begin history again, and to 
have to reverse our elementary facts." That is, in other 
words, the multitude of men hate Catholicism mainly on 
tradition, there being few indeed who have made fact and 
argument the primary or the supplemental grounds of 
their aversion to it. And, observe, they hate it on a 


single isolated tradition, not a complex conclusive tradi- 
tion, not the united tradition of many places. It is true, 
indeed, that Holland, and Geneva, and Prussia, each has its 
own tradition against the Catholic Church ; but our popu- 
lation do in no sense believe from any judgment they form 
on those united British and foreign traditions, but from 
the tradition of one nation alone; which, though certainly it 
comprises millions of souls, nevertheless is so intimately 
one by the continual intercourse and mutual communica- 
tion of part with part, that it cannot with any fairness 
be considered to contain a nurabei* of separate testimo- 
nies, but one only. Yet this meagre evidence, I say, 
suffices to produce in the national mind an enthusiastic, 
undoubting, and energetic persuasion that we torture 
heretics, inunure nuns, sell licences to sin, and are plot- 
ting against kings and goverinnents ; all, I say, because 
this was said of Catholics when they were boys. It is 
the old heirloom, the family picture, which is at once 
their informant and their proof. 

Nor is this phenomenon, remarkable as it is, without 
its parallel in former passages of the world's history. W'e 
have a notable instance in holy writ to which I hope I 
may allude without risking a theological discussion. We 
read there of certain parties animated with extreme reli- 
gious bitterness, simply on the incentive, and for the 
defence, of traditions which were absolutely worthless. 
The popular party in Judea, at the date of the Christian 
era, were the dupes of a teaching, professing indeed the 
authority of their forefathers, or what they called " the 
tradition of the elders ;" but in reality nothing more or 
less than the "• commandment and tradition of men ;" of 
fallible men, nay, not only deceivable, but actually de- 
ceived. This was the fatal flaw in their argument ; the 


tradition might have been kept ever so accurately and 
religiously, it might with full certainty have been derived 
from the foregoing generation, and have existed beyond 
the furthest memory ; but this proved nothing while it 
was traceable back to man, not to a divine informant, as 
its ultimate resolution or first origin. The stream can- 
not rise higher than its source ; if the wellspring of the 
tradition be human, not divine, what profit its fidelity ? 
Such as is the primary authority, so will be the con- 
tinuous, the latest derivation. And this, accordingly, was 
the judgment pronounced in the instance, to which I have 
alluded, on both the doctrine and its upholders. " In 
vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the com- 
mandments of menr As is the origin, so is the tradition; 
when the origin is true, the tradition will be true ; when 
the origin is false, the tradition will be false. There can 
most surely be true traditions, that is, traditions from true 
sources ; but such traditions, though they really be true, 
do not profess to prove themselves ; they come accom- 
panied by other arguments ; the true traditions of divine 
revelation are proved to be true, by miracle, by prophecy, 
by the test of cumulative and collateral evidences, which 
directly avouch and warrant them. Such were not the 
traditions of the Pharisees, — they professed to speak for 
themselves, they bore witness to themselves, they were 
their own evidence ; and, as might have been expected, 
they were not trustworthy ; they were mere frauds ; they 
came indeed down the stream of time, but that was no 
recommendation; it only put the fraud up higher; it 
might make it venerable, it could not make it true. 

Yet it is remarkable, I say, how positive and fanatical 
the Jewish people was in its maintenance of these lies. 
It was irritated, nay, maddened, at hearing them de- 


nounced, rose up fiercely against their denouncers, and 
thought they did God service in putting them to death. 
It is plain tlien that a popular feeling is not necessarily 
logical, because it is strong. 

Now of course a great number of persons will not 
easily allow the fact, that the English animosity against 
Catholicism is founded on nothing more argumentative 
than tradition ; but, whether I can prove my point or not, 
I think I have already shown that tradition, even though 
not an argumentative, is, at least, quite a sufficient ex- 
planation of the feeling. I am not assigning a trifling 
and inadequate cause to so great an effect. If the Jews 
could be led to put to death the Founder of our religion 
and His disciples on tradition, there is nothing ridiculous 
in saying that the British scorn and hatred of Catholi- 
cism may be created by tradition also. The great ques- 
tion is, the matter of fact, is tradition the cause ? I say 
it is ; and in saying so, observe, I am speaking of the 
multitude, not dwelling on exceptions, however numerous 
in themselves ; for doubtless there are a number of men, 
men of thought and reading, who oppose Catholicism, 
not merely on tradition, but on better arguments : but, I 
repeat, I am speaking of the great mass of Protestants. 
Again, bear in mind, I am speaking of what really is the 
fact, not of what the mass of Protestants will confess. 
Of course no man will admit, nor, if he can help it, own 
even to himself, that he is taking his views of the Catholic 
Church from Bishop Newton, or buckling on his sword 
against her preachers, merely because Lord George Gor- 
don did the like ; on the contrary, he will sharply retort, 
" I never heard of Bishop Newton or of Lord George 
Gordon, I don't know their names ;'"' but the simple 
question which we have to determine is the real matter 


of fact, and not whether the persons who are the subjects 
of our investigation will themselves admit it. To this 
point, then, the matter of fact, — Do Protestants go by 
tradition ? on which I have said something already, I shall 
now proceed to direct your attention. 

How then stands the matter of fact ? Do the people 
of this country receive their notion of the Catholic 
Church in the way of argument and examination, as they 
would decide in favour of railroads over other modes of 
conveyance, or on plans of parish relief, or police regula- 
tions, and the like ; or does it come to them mainly as a 
tradition which they have inherited, and which they will 
not question, though they have in their hands abundant 
reasons for questioning it ? I answer, without a doubt, 
it comes to them as a tradition ; the fact is patent and 
palpable; the tradition is before our eyes, unmistakeable ; 
it is huge, vast, various, engrossing ; it has a monopoly 
of the English mind, it brooks no rival, and it takes 
summary measures with rebellion. 

When King Henry began a new religion, when Eliza- 
beth brought it into shape, when her successors completed 
and confirmed it, they were all of them too wise, and too 
much in earnest, not to clench their work. They pro- 
vided for its continuance after them. They, or at least 
the influences which ruled them, knew well enough, that 
Protestantism, left to itself, could not stand. It had 
not that internal consistency in its make, which would 
support it against outward foes, or secure it against in- 
ternal disorders. And the event has justified their fore- 
sight ; whether you look at Lutheranism or Calvinism, 
you will find neither of those forms of religion has been 
able to resist the action of thought and i-eason upon it 


during a course of years ; both have changed and come 
to nought. Luther began his rehgion in Germany, Cal- 
vin in Geneva ; Calvinism is now all but extinct in 
Geneva, and Lutheranism in Germany. Tt could not be 
otherwise ; such an issue was predicted by Catholics, as 
well as instinctively felt by the Reformers, at the time 
that Protestantism started. Give it rope enough, and 
any one could prophesy its end ; so its patrons deter- 
mined that rope it should not have, but that private 
judgment should come to a close with their own use of it. 
There was enough of private judgment they thought, 
when they themselves had done with it. So they forcibly 
shut-to the door which they had opened, and imposed on 
the populations they had reformed an artificial tradition of 
their own, instead of the liberty of inquiry and disputation. 
They worked their own particular persuasion into the poli- 
tical framework of things, and made it a constitutional or 
national principle ; in other words, they established it. 

Now you may say that Catholicism has often been 
established also ; true, but Catholicism does not depend 
on its establishment for its existence ; it can do without 
it, and often dispenses with it to an advantage. A 
Catholic nation, as a matter of course, establishes 
Catholicism, because it is a Catholic nation ; but in such 
a case Catholicism comes first, and establishment comes 
second ; the establishment is the spontaneous act of the 
people ; it is a national movement, the Catholic people 
does it, and not the Catholic Church. It is but the 
accident of a particular state of things, the result of the 
fervour of the people, it is the will of the masses ; but I 
repeat, it is not necessary for Catholicism. Not neces- 
sary, I maintain, and Ireland is my proof of it ; there 
Catholicism has been, not only not established, it has 


been persecuted for three hundred years, and at this 
moment it is more vigorous than ever ; whereas, I defy 
you to bring any instance of a nation remaining Lutheran 
or Calvinist for even a hundred years, under similarly 
unpromising circumstances. Where is the country in 
the whole world, where Protestantism has thriven under 
persecution, as Catholicism has thriven in Ireland ? You 
might say, indeed, that Such an occurrence is at least 
conceivable, for this reason, that persecution binds a 
body together ; but I do not think that even persecution 
would, for any course of years, bind Protestants together 
in one body ; for the very principle of private judgment 
is a principle of disunion, and that principle goes on act- 
ing in weal and in woe, in triumph and in disappointment, 
and its history gives instances of this. But I am speak- 
ing, not of what is supposable under certain circum- 
stances, but of what has been the fact, and I say, looking 
at the subject historically. Protestantism cannot last 
without an establishment, though Catholicism can ; and 
next, I say that that establishment of Protestantism is 
not the work of the people, is not a development of 
their faith, is not carried by acclamation, but is an act 
of calculating heads, of State policy, of kingcraft ; the 
work of certain princes, statesmen, bishops, in order to 
make, if possible, that national, which was not national 
before it, and without it never would be national ; and 
therefore it is not a matter of the greater or less ex- 
pediency, sometimes advisable, sometimes not, but it is 
always necessary, always imperative, if Protestantism is 
to be kept alive. Establishmentism is the very life of 
Protestantism ; or, in other words. Protestantism comes 
in upon the nation. Protestantism is maintained, not in 
the way of reason and truth, not by appeals to facts, but 


by tradition, and by a compulsory tradition ; and this, in 
other words, is an establishment. 

Now this establishment of Protestantism was compa- 
ratively an easy undertaking in England, without the 
population knowing much what Protestantism meant, 
and I will tell you why ; there are certain peculiarities 
of the English character, which were singularly favour- 
able to the royal purpose. As I have just said, the 
legitimate instruments for deciding on the truth of a 
religion are these two, fact and reason, or in other 
words, the way of history and the way of science ; and 
to both the one and the other of these, the Enghsh mind 
is naturally indisposed. Theologians proceed in the way 
of reasoning ; they view Catholic truth as a whole, as 
one great system, of which part grows out of part, and 
doctrine corresponds to doctrine. This system they 
carry out into its fulness, and define in its details, by 
patient processes of reason ; and they learn to prove and 
defend it by means of frequent disputations and logical 
development. Now all such abstract investigations and 
controversial exercises are distasteful to an Englishman ; 
they suit the Germans, and still more the French, the 
Italians, and the Spaniards, but as to ourselves we break 
away from them as dry, uncertain, theoretical, and 
unreal. The other means of attaining religious truth is 
the way of history ; when, namely, from the review of 
past times and foreign countries, the student determines 
what was really taught by the Apostles in the beginning. 
Now an Enghshman, as is notorious, takes comparatively 
little interest in the manners, customs, opinions, or 
doings of foreign countries. Surrounded by the sea, he 
is occupied with himself; his attention is concentrated 
in himself ; and he looks abroad only with reference to 


himself. We are a liomc people ; we like a house to 
ourselves, and we call it our castle ; we look at what is 
immediately before us ; we are eminently practical ; we 
care little for the past ; we resign ourselves to existing 
circumstances ; we are neither eclectics nor antiquarians ; 
we live in the present. Foreign politics excite us very 
little ; the Minister of Foreign Affairs may order about 
our fleets, or sign protocols, at his good pleasure ; pro- 
vided he does nothing to cripple trade, or to raise the 
price of wheat or cotton. Much less do we care to know 
how they worship, or what they believe, in Germany or 
in Spain ; rather, we are apt to despise their whole 
apparatus of religion, whatever it is, as odd and out- 
landish ; and as to past times, English divines have 
attempted as little for ecclesiastical history, as they have 
attempted for theological science. 

Now you see how admirably this temper of English- 
men fits in with the exigencies of Protestantism ; for 
two of the very characteristics of Protestantism are, its 
want of past history, and its want of fixed teaching. I 
do not say that no Protestants have investigated or 
argued ; that no Protestants have made appeals to primi- 
tive Christianity ; such an assertion would be absurd ; it 
was a rule of the game, as it may be called ; they were 
obliged to say what they held, and to prove it, they were 
obliged to recur to ecclesiastical history ; — certainly ; but 
they have done so, because they could not help it ; they 
did it for the moment ; they did it for a purpose ; they 
did so as an argumentum ad kominem ; but they did so 
as little as they could, and they soon left off doing so. 
Now especially, the Latitudinarians profess to ignore doc- 
trine, and the Evangelicals to ignore history. In truth, 
philosophy and history do not come natural to Pro- 


testantisni ; it cannot bear either ; it does not reason 
out any point ; it does not survey steadily any course of 
facts. It dips into reason, it dips into history, but it 
breathes freer when it emerges again. Observe, then ; — 
the very exercises of the intellect, by which religious 
truth is attained, are just those which the Englishman is 
too impatient, and Protestantism too shallow to abide ; 
the natural disposition of the one most happily jumps 
with the needs of the other. And this was the first 
singular advantage of Protestantism in England : Catho- 
lics reasoned profoundly upon doctrine ; Catholics in- 
vestigated rigidly other times and places ; in vain, — they 
had not found the way to gain the Englishman, whereas 
their antagonist had found a weapon of its own, far more 
to the purpose of the contest than argument or fact. 

That weapon is, what is so characteristic of our peo- 
ple, loyalty to the Sovereign. If there is one passion 
more than another, which distinguishes the manly and 
generous heart of the Englishman, it is that of personal 
attachment. He lives in the present, in contrast to the 
absent and the past. He ignores foreigners at a dis- 
tance ; but when they come to him, if they come recom- 
mended by their antecedents, and make an appeal to his 
eyes and his ears, he almost worships them. We all 
recollect with what enthusiasm the populace received 
Marshal Soult on his visit to London a few years ago ; 
it was a warm and hearty feeling elicited by the sight of 
a brave enemy and a skilful commander, and it took his 
own countrymen altogether by surprise. The reception 
given to Louis Philippe, who was far from popular among 
us, was of a similarly hospitable character ; nay. Napo- 
leon himself, who had been the object of our bitterest 
hatred, on his appearance as a prisoner off the British 




coast, was visited with an interest, respect, and almost 
sympathy, which I consider (mutatis mutandis) would not 
at all have been shown towards Wellington or Blucher, 
had they been prisoners in France. Again, I suppose 
the political principles of the Emperor Nicholas are as 
cordially hated in England, as his religious principles are 
in disrepute in Rome ; yet even he, on his successive 
visits to the two places, encountered a far less flattering 
reception from the Roman populace than from the peo- 
ple of England. Who so unpopular thirty years ago, as 
that magnanimous man, Lord Londonderry ? yet when 
he appeared at George the Fourth's coronation, the sight 
of his noble figure and bearing drew shouts of applause 
from the multitude, who thought they hated him. George 
himself, worthless as he seems to have been, for how 
many years had he been an object of popular admiration ! 
till his wife, a more urgent candidate for the eye of 
pity and sympathy, supplanted him. Charles the Second, 
the most profligate of monarchs, lived in the hearts of 
his people, till the day of his death. It is the way with 
Englishmen. A saint in rags would be despised; in 
broadcloth, or in silk, he would be thought something 
more than ordinary. St. Francis of Assisi, bareheaded 
and barefooted, would be hooted ; St. Francis Xavier, 
dressed up like a Mandarin, with an umbrella over his head, 
would inspire wonder and delight. A Turk, a Parsee, a 
Chinese, a Bonze, nay, I will say, a chimpanzee, a hippo- 
potamus, has only to show himself in order to be the 
cynosure of innumerable eyes, and the idol of his hour. 
Nay, even more, — I will say a bold thing, — but I am not 
at all sure, that, except at seasons of excitement like the 
present, the Pope himself, however he may be abused 
behind his back, would not be received with cheers, and 


run after by admiring crowds, if he visited this countiy, 
independent of the shadow of Peter which attends him, 
winning favour and attracting hearts, when he showed 
himself in real flesh and blood, by the majesty of his 
presence and the prestige of his name. Such, I say, is 
the Englishman : with a heart for many objects, with an 
innate veneration for merit, talents, rank, wealth, sci- 
ence, not in the abstract, however, but as embodied in a 
visible form ; and it is the consciousness of this charac- 
teristic which renders statesmen at this moment, of 
whatever cast of politics, so afraid of the appearance of 
Cardinals and a hierarchy, in the midst of the people 
they have to govern. ? ? ' ^ 

These antagonist peculiarities of the Enghsh character 
which I have been describing, lay clear and distinct 
before the sagacious intellects, which were the ruling 
spirits of the English Reformation. They had to deal 
with a people who would be sure to revolt from the 
unnatural speculations of Calvin, and who would see 
nothing attractive in the dreamy and sensual doctrines of 
Luther. The emptiness of a ceremonial, and the affecta- 
tion of a priesthood were no bribe to its business-like 
habits and its love of the tangible. Definite dogma, 
intelligible articles, formularies which would construe, a 
consistent ritual, an historical ancestry, would have been 
thrown away on those who were not sensitive of the 
connexion of faith and reason. Another way was to be 
pursued with our countrymen to make Protestantism 
live ; and that was to embody it in the pei'son of its 
Sovereign. English Protestantism is the religion of the 
throne : it is represented, realized, taught, transmitted 
in the succession of monarchs and an hereditary aris- 
tocracy. It is a religion grafted upon loyalty ; and ita 

F 2 


strength is not in argument, not in fact, not in the 
unanswerable controversiahst, not in an apostolical suc- 
cession, not in sanction of Scripture, but in a royal road 
to faith, in backing up a King whom men see, against a 
Pope they do not see. The devolution of its crown is 
the tradition of its creed ; and to doubt its truth is to 
be disloyal towards its Sovereign. Kings are an English- 
man's saints and doctors ; he likes somebody or some- 
thing, at which he can cry " huzzah," and throw up his 
hat. Bluff king Hal, glorious Bess, the Royal Martyr, the 
Merry Monarch, the pious and immortal William, the 
good King George, royal personages very different from 
each other, — nevertheless, as being royal, none of them 
come amiss, but all are the objects of his devotion, and 
the resolution of his Christianity. 

It was plain then what had to be done in order to 
perpetuate Protestantism in a country such as this. 
Convoke the legislature, pass some sweeping ecclesias- 
tical enactments, exalt the Crown above the Law and the 
Gospel, down with the Cross and up with the lion and 
dog, toss all priests out of the country as traitors ; let 
Protestantism be the passport to office and authority, 
force the King to be a Protestant, make his court Pro- 
testant, bind Houses of Parliament to be Protestant, 
clap a Protestant oath on judges, barristers-at-law, offi- 
cers in army and navy, members of the universities, 
national clergy; establish this stringent tradition in 
every function and department of the State, surround it 
with the lustre of rank, wealth, station, name, and 
talent ; and this people so impatient of inquiry, so care- 
less of abstract truth, so apathetic to historical fact, so 
contemptuous of foreign ideas, will ex animo swear to the 
truth of a religion which indulges their natural turn of 


mind, and involves no severe thought or tedious appUca- 
tion. The Sovereign is the source and the centre, as of 
civil, so of ecclesiastical arrangements ; truth shall be 
synonymous with order and good government ; — what 
can be simpler than such a teaching? Puritans may 
struggle against it, and temporarily prevail ; sceptics 
may ridicule it, object, expose, and refute ; readers of 
the Fathers may strive to soften and embellish it with 
the colours of antiquity ; but strong in the constitution 
of the law, and congenial to the heart of the people, the 
royal tradition will be a match for all its rivals, and in 
the long run will extinguish the very hope of competi- 

So counselled the Ahithophels of the day ; it was de- 
vised, it was done. Then was the inauguration of the 
great picture of the Lion and the Man. The Virgin 
Queen rose in her strength ; she held her court, she 
showed herself to her people ; she gathered round her 
peer and squire, alderman and burgess, army and navy, 
lawyer and divine, student and artisan. She made an 
appeal to the chivalrous and the loyal, and forthwith all 
that was noble, powerful, dignified, splendid, and intel- 
lectual, touched the hilt of their swords, and spread their 
garments in the way for her to tread upon. And first of 
all she addressed herself to the Law ; and that, not only 
because it was the proper foundation of a national struc- 
ture, but also inasmuch as from the nature of the case, 
it was her surest and most faithful ally. The Law is a 
science, and therefore takes for granted afterwards, what- 
ever it has once determined ; hence it followed, that once 
Protestant, it would be always Protestant ; it could be 
depended on ; let Protestantism be recognized as a prin- 
ciple of the Constitution, and every decision to the end 


of time would but illustrate Protestant doctrines and 
consolidate Protestant interests. In the eye of the Law 
precedent is the measure of truth, and order the proof of 
reasonableness, and reception the test of orthodoxy. It 
moves forward by a majestic tradition faithful to its 
principles, regardless of theory and speculation, and 
therefore eminently fitted to be the vehicle of EngHsh 
Protestantism such as we have described it, and to co- 
operate with the monarchical principle in its consolida- 
tion. Moreover, a number of delicate questions which 
had been contested in previous centuries, and had hitherto 
been involved in contradictory precedents, now received 
once for all a Protestant solution. There had been pro- 
longed disputes between the Pontificate and the Regale, 
the dispute about Investitures, of Rufus with St. Anselm, 
of Henry the Second with St. Thomas, of Henry of Win- 
chester with St. Edmund ; and the eighth Harry had set- 
tled it in his own way, when, on Cardinal Fisher's refusing 
to acknowledge his spiritual power, he had, without hesita- 
tion, proceeded to cut off his head; — the Law with its Pro- 
testant bias, could now give dignity and form to what up 
to this time, to say the least, were ex parte proceedings. 
It was decided once for all, what was the rule and what the 
exception ; the courts gave judgment that the saints 
were to be all in the wrong ; the kings were to be all in 
the right ; whatever the crown had claimed was to be its 
due, whatever the Pope claimed was to be a usurpation. 
What could be more simple and conclusive ? the most 
sacred power in the order of nature, " whose voice is 
the harmony of the world," to whom " all things in 
earth do homage," the hereditary wisdom and the col- 
lective intelligence of a mighty nation in Parliament 
assembled, the venerable judges of the land, were retained 


in the interests of a party ; their ripe experience, their 
profound thought, their subtle penetration, their well- 
regulated prudence were committed for good and all to 
the politics of a crisis. 

So much for the Law ; but this was only one of those 
great functions of the nation which became the instru- 
ment of the Protestant tradition. Elizabeth had an in- 
fluence with her, other and even greater than the autho- 
rity of the Law. She was the Queen of fashion and of 
opinion. The principles of Protestantism rapidly became 
the standard generally, to which genius, taste, philo- 
sophy, learning, and investigation were constrained and 
bribed to submit. They are her legacy to the nation, 
and have been taken for granted ever since, as starting 
points in all discussion and all undertakings. In every 
circle, and in every rank of the community, in the court, 
in public meetings, in private society, in literary assem- 
blages, in the family party, it is always assumed that 
Catholicism is absurd. No one can take part in the 
business of the great world, no one can speak and 
debate, no one can present himself before his consti- 
tuents, no one can write a book, without the necessity of 
professing that Protestant ideas are self-evident, and 
that the religion of Alfred, St. Edward, Stephen Lang- 
ton and Friar Bacon, is a bygone dream. No one can 
be a Catholic, without apologizing for it. And what is 
in vogue in the upper classes, is ever, as we know, am- 
bitiously aped in the inferior. The religious observances 
of the court become a reigning fashion throughout the 
social fabric, as certainly as its language or mode of 
dress ; and, as an aspirant for distinction advances from 
a lower grade of society to an upper, he necessarily 
abandons his vulgar sect, whatever it is, for the national 


Protestantism. All other ways of thought are as friglit- 
ful as the fashions of last year ; the present is the true 
and the divine ; the past is dark because its sun has 
het, and ignorant because it is dumb, and living dogs 
ai-e worth more than dead lions. As to Catholicisni, the 
utmost liberaHty which can be extended towards it, is to 
call it pretty poetry, bearable in a tragedy, intolerable in 
fact ; the utmost charity towards its professors is to 
confess that they may be better than their creed, — per- 
haps believe it, and are only dupes, — perhaps doubt it, and 
are only cowards. Protestantism sets the tone to every 
thing; and to have the patronage of the wealthy, the 
esteem of the cultivated, and the applause of the many, 
Catholics must get its phrases by heart. It is the pro- 
fession of a gentleman ; Catholicism of underbred per- 
sons, of the vulgar-minded, the uncouth, and the ill-con- 
nected. We all can understand how the man of fashion, 
the profligate, the spendthrift, have their own circles, to 
which none but men of their own stamp and their own 
opinions are admitted ; how to hate religion and religious 
men, to scoff at principle, and to laugh at heaven and hell, 
and to do all this with decorum and good breeding, are the 
necessary title for admittance ; and how, in consequence, 
men at length begin to believe what they so incessantly 
hear said, and so incessantly say by rote themselves, to 
suspect that, after all, virtue, as it is called, is nothing 
else than iiypocrisy grafted on licentiousness ; and that 
purity and simplicity, and earnestness and probity, are 
but the dreams of the young and the theoretical : — it is 
by a similar policy, and by a similar process, that the 
fathers and patrons of the English Reformation have 
given a substance, a momentum, and a permanence to 
tiieir tradition, and have fastened on us Catholics, first 


the imputation, then the repute of ignorance, bigotry, 
and superstition. Let the Protestant paint up Popery, 
and the profligate will take it for virtue. 

And now I will mention a distinct vehicle of the Pro- 
testant Tradition in England, which was an instance of 
good fortune, greater than its originators could pos- 
sibly have anticipated or contrived. Protestantism be- 
came, not only the tradition of law and of good society, 
but the tradition of literature also. There is no English 
literature before the age of Elizabeth ; but with the latter 
years of her reign begins that succession of great authors 
which continues to flow on down to this day. So it was, 
that about the commencement of the sixteenth century 
learning revived ; on the taking of Constantinople by the 
Turks the men of letters of the imperial city, and, what 
was of more consequence, its libraries, became the property 
of the West. Schools were opened for the cultivation of 
studies and pursuits, which make Greece as renowned 
among the nations in the gifts of intellect, as Judea has 
been in the gifts of grace. The various perfections of 
the Greek language, the treasures of Greek thought, the 
genius and taste of Greek art, after the sleep of ages 
burst upon the European mind. It was like the warmth, 
the cheerfulness, and the hues of spring succeeding to the 
pure and sublime, but fantastic forms of winter frost- 
work. The barbarism, the sternness, the untowardness 
of the high and noble mediaeval school, eyed with 
astonishment, and melted beneath, the radiance of a 
genius unrivalled in the intellectual firmament. A world 
of ideas, transcendent in beauty and endless in fertility, 
flooded the imagination of the scholar and the poet. 
The fine arts underwent a classical development, and the 
vernacular tongues caught the refinement and the ele- 


gance of the age of Pericles and Alexander. The revi- 
val began in Catholic Italy ; it advanced into Catholic 
France ; at length it showed itself in Protestant England. 
A voice came forth from the grave of the old world, as 
articulate and keen as that of a living teacher ; and it 
thrilled into the heart of the people to whom it came, 
and it taught them to respond to it in their own tongue, — 
and that teaching was coincident with the first preaching 
of Protestantism. It was surely a most lucky accident 
for the young religion, that, while the English language 
was coming to the birth with its special attributes of 
nerve, simplicity, and vigour, at its very first breathings 
Protestantism was at hand to form it upon its own theo- 
logical patois, and to educate it as the mouth-piece of its 
tradition. So, however, it was to be ; and soon, 

" As in this bad world below 
Noblest things find vilest using," 

the new religion employed the new language for its pur- 
poses, in a great undertaking, the translation of its own 
Bible ; a work which, by the purity of its diction, and 
the strength and harmony of its style, has deservedly 
become the very model of good English, and the standai'd 
of the language to all future times. The same age, which 
saw this great literary achievement, gave birth to some 
of the greatest masters of thought and composition in 
the most various departments of authorship. Shake- 
speare, Spenser, Sidney, Raleigh, Bacon, and Hooker are 
its own ; and they were, withal, more or less the pane- 
gyrists of Elizabeth and her religion, and moreover, at 
least the majority of them, adherents of her creed, be- 
cause already clients of her throne. The Mother of 
the Reformation is, in the verses of Shakespeare, " a fair 
vestal throned by the west ;*" in the poem of Spenser 


she is the Faery Queen, Oloriana, and the fair huntress, 
Belphebe, while the mihtant Christian is rescued from the 
seductions of Popery, Duessa, by Una, the True Church, 
or Protestant reHgion. The works of these celebrated 
men have been but the beginning of a long series of crea- 
tions of the highest order of literary merit, of which Pro- 
testantism is the intellectual basis, and Protestant insti- 
tutions the informing object. What was wanting to lead 
the national mind a willing captive to the pretensions of 
Protestantism, beyond the fascination of genius so mani- 
fold and so various ? What need of controversy to refute 
the claims of Catholicism ? what need of closeness of rea- 
soning, or research into facts, when under a Queen's 
smile this vast and continuous tradition had been unrolled 
before the eyes of men, illuminate with the most dazzling 
colours, and musical with the most subduing strains ? 
Certainly the lions' artists, even had they had the fairest 
play, could have set up no rival exhibition as original and 
as exuberant as this. 

Nor was it court poets alone, as time went on, who 
swelled the torrent of the Protestant Tradition. Milton 
from the middle class, and Bunyan from among the 
populace, exerted an influence superior to Shakespeare 
himself, whose great mind did not condescend to the 
direct inculcation of a private or a sectarian creed. Their 
phrases, their sentiments are the household words of the 
nation, they have become its interpreters of Scripture, 
and, I may say, its prophets, — such is the magical elo- 
quence of their compositions ; so much so, that 1 really 
shall not be far from the mark in saying of them, nay of 
Shakespeare too, that the ordinary run of men find it 
very difficult to determine, in respect to the proverbs, 
instances, maxims, and half-sentences which are in the 


nation''s mouth, which, and how much, is from the Bible, 
and how much from the authors I have mentioned. 
There is a saying, " Give me the framing of a nation's 
proverbs, and I shall have my own way with it ;" this has 
been strikingly fulfilled in the Protestantism of England. 
AVhat, indeed, could possibly stand against the rush and 
vehemence of such a tradition, which has grown fuller 
and fuller, and more and more impetuous, with every 
successive quarter of a century? Clarendon and the 
statesmen, Locke and philosophy, Addison and the 
essayists, Hume, Robertson, and the historians ; Cowper 
and the minor poets ; the reviews and magazines of the 
present era, all proceed upon the hypothesis, which they 
think too self-evident for proof, that Protestantism is 
synonymous with good sense, and Catholicism with weak- 
ness of mind, fanaticism, or some unaccountable persua- 
sion or fancy. Verse and prose, grave and gay, the 
scientific and the practical, history and fable, all is ani 
mated spontaneously, or imperiously subdued, by the 
spirit of Henry and Elizabeth. I say, " imperiously 
subdued," because the tradition of Protestantism is 
strong enough, not only to recommend, but to force, its 
reception on each successive generation of authors. It 
compels when it cannot persuade. There is Alexander 
Pope, a Catholic, and who would discover it from the 
run of his poems? There is Samuel Johnson, born a 
Protestant, yearning for the Catholic Church, and burst- 
ing out into fitful defences of portions of her doctrine 
and disciphne, yet professing to the last that very Pro- 
testantism which could neither command his affections, 
nor cure his infirmities. And, in our own time, there 
was Walter Scott ashamed of his own Catholic tenden- 
cies, and cowering before the jealous frown of the tyrant 


tradition. There was Wordsworth, obhged to do penance 
for Catholic sonnets by anti-Catholic complements to 
them. Scott must plead antiquarianism in extenuation 
of his prevarication ; Wordsworth must plead Panthe- 
ism ; and Burke, again, political necessity. Liberalism, 
scepticism, infidelity, these must be the venial errors, 
under plea of which a writer escapes reprobation for the 
enormity of feeling tenderly toward the religion of his 
fathers, and of his neighbours around him. It labours 
under a proscription of three centuries, and it is outlawed 
by immemorial custom. 

No wonder then that Protestantism, being the religion 
of our literature, is become the Tradition of civil inter- 
course and political life ; no wonder that its assumptions 
are among the elements of knowledge, unchangeable as 
the moods of logic, or the idioms of language, or the in- 
junctions of good taste, or the proprieties of good manners. 
Elizabeth's reign is " golden," Mary is " bloody," the 
Church of England is " pure and apostolical," the Re- 
formers are "judicious," the Prayer Book is "incom- 
parable" or " beautiful," the Thirty -nine Articles are 
" moderate," " Pope" and " pagan" go together, and 
" the Pope, the devil, and the Pretender." The anti- 
Catholic rancour is carried into your marts of commerce ; 
London is burned down, and forthwith your greatest 
architect is instructed to set up a tall pillar to perpetuate 
the lie, that the Papists were the incendiaries. Take 
your controversy with you when you sit down to cards, 
and let the taunting name of Pope Joan be the title of 
your game. Run a horse the coming year, and among 
your Sorcerers, Lamplighters, Malibrans, and Priams, 
you will find Crucifix, a striking, perhaps a lucky name 
for your beast ; it is but the emblem of an extinct super- 


stition. Dress up for some fancy ball, or morris dance, and 
let the Grand Turk jump about on one side of you, and 
the Pope with cross, and beads, and triple crown upon the 
other. Go to the stage of the mountebank, and teach 
him, when he displays his sleight of hand, to give effect 
to his tricks by the most sacred words of the Catholic 
ritual. Into your very vocabulary let Protestantism 
enter ; let priest, and mass, and mass-priest, and mass- 
house have an offensive savour on your palate ; let monk 
be a word of reproach ; let Jesuitism and Jesuitical, in 
their very first intention, stand for what is dishonourable 
and vile. What chance has a Catholic against so mul- 
titudinous, so elementary a tradition ? Here is the tra- 
dition of the Court, and of the Law, and of Society, 
and Literature, strong in themselves, and acting on each 
other, and acting on a willing people, and the willing 
people acting on them, till the whole edifice stands self- 
supported, reminding one of some vast arch, (as at 
times may be seen,) from which the supports have crum- 
bled away by age, but which endures still, and supports 
the huge mass of brick-work which lies above it, by the 
simple cohesion of parts which that same age has effected. 
My Brothers of the Oratory, you see what I meant when 
I spoke of the tradition of the Pharisees, and said that 
it might be powerful in influence, though it was argu- 
mentatively weak ; you see why it is that the fair form 
of Catholicism, as it exists in the east, west, and south, 
never crosses the retina of a Protestant's imagination ; 
it is the incubus of this tradition which cumbers the 
land, and opposes an inpregnable barrier between us and 
each individual Protestant whom we happen to address. 
Whoever he is, he thinks he knows all about our reli- 
gion, before speaking to us ; nay, perhaps he knows it 


much better than we know it ourselves. And now, if 
I said no more, I have said abundantly sufficient for the 
point I have had in view ; and yet there is one portion 
of the subject still behind, which is almost more to my 
purpose than any thing which I have hitherto mentioned. 
Protestantism is also the Tradition of the Anglican 
Clergy ; and in speaking of them with reference to it, 
as I am going to speak. Brothers of the Oratory, do not 
suppose me to be forgetful either of their private worth, 
or their civil importance. As the other functions of the 
constitution subserve the temporal welfare of the com- 
munity, so does the established clergy minister to it with 
a special fidelity. But I am all along speaking of Kings, 
Lords, Commons, Law, Literature, and so also of the 
Clergy, not simply as parts of the body politic, but as 
organs of Protestantism ; and, as I have pointed out the 
office which other political ranks and departments fulfil 
in its propagation, so am I now to speak of the duties of 
the Religious Establishment. I say, then, that its espe- 
cial duty, as a religious body, is not to inculcate any 
particular theological system, but to watch over the anti- 
Catholic tradition, to preserve it from rust and decay, to 
keep it bright, and keen, and ready for action on any 
emergency or peril. It is the way with human nature to 
start with vigour, and then to flag ; years tell upon the 
toughest frames ; time introduces changes ; prejudices are 
worn away ; asperities are softened ; views open ; errors 
are corrected ; opponents are better understood ; the 
mind wearies of waifare. The Protestant tradition, left 
to itself, would in the course of time languish and de- 
cHne ; laws would become obsolete, the etiquette and 
usages of society would alter, literature would be en- 
livened with new views, and the old Truth might return 


with the freshness of novelty. It is the special mission 
of the established clergy by word and writing to guard 
against this tendency of the public mind. In this mainly 
consists its teaching ; I repeat, not in the shreds of 
Catholic doctrine which it professes, not in proofs of the 
divinity of any creed whatever, not in separating opinion 
from faith, not in instructing in the details of morals, but 
mainly in furbishing up the old-fashioned weapons of 
centuries back ; in cataloguing and classing the texts 
which are to batter us, and the objections which are to 
explode among us, and the insinuations and the slanders 
which are to mow us down. The Establishment is the 
keeper in ordinary of those national types and blocks, 
from which Popery is ever to be printed off, — of the tra- 
ditional view of every Catholic doctrine, the traditional 
account of every ecclesiastical event, the traditional lives 
of Popes and Bishops, abbots and monks, saints and 
confessors, the traditional fictions, sophisms, calumnies, 
mockeries, sai'casms, and invectives with which Catholics 
are to be assailed. 

This, I say, is the special charge laid upon the 
Establishment. Unitarians, Sabellians, Utilitarians, Me- 
thodists, Calvinists, Swedenborgians, Irvingites, Free- 
thinkers, all these it can tolerate in its very bosom ; no 
form of opinion comes amiss ; but Rome it cannot abide. 
It agrees to differ with its children on a thousand points, 
one is sacred — that her Majesty the Queen is " the 
Mother and Mistress of all churches ;" on one dogma it 
may rest without any mistake, that " the Bishop of Rome 
hath no jurisdiction in this realm." Here is sunshine 
amid the darkness, sense amid confusion, an intelligible 
strain amid a Babel of sounds ; whatever befalls, here is 
sure footing ; it is " No peace with Rome," " Down with 


the Pope," and " The Church in danger." Never has the 
Establishment failed in the use of these important and 
effective watchwords ; many are its shortcomings, but it 
is without reproach in the execution of its charge. 
Heresy, and scepticism, and infidelity, and fanaticism 
may challenge it in vain; but fling upon the gale the 
faintest whisper of Catholicism, and it recognizes by in- 
stinct the presence of its connatural foe. Forthwith, as 
during the last year, the atmosphere is tremulous with 
agitation, and discharges its vibrations far and wide. A 
movement is in birth, which has no natural crisis or reso- 
lution. Spontaneously the bells of the steeples begin to 
sound. Not by an act of volition, but by a sort of me- 
chanical impulse, bishop and dean, archdeacon and canon, 
rector and curate, one after another, each on his high 
tower, off they set, swinging and booming, tolling and 
chiming, with nervous intenseness, and thickening emo- 
tion, and deepening volume, the old dingdong which has 
scared town and country this weary time ; tolling and 
chiming away, jingling and clamouring, and ringing the 
changes on their poor half-dozen notes, all about " the 
Popish aggression \" " insolent and insidious," " insidious 
and insolent," " insolent and atrocious," " atrocious and 
insolent," " atrocious, insolent, and ungrateful," " un- 
grateful, insolent, and atrocious," " foul and offensive," 
"pestilent and horrid," "subtle and unholy," "auda- 
cious and revolting," " contemptible and shameless," 
"malignant," "frightful," "mad," ' meretricious," bobs, 
(I think the ringers call them,) bobs, and bobs royal, 
and triple-bob-majors and grandsires,— to the extent of 

1 Vide an amusing and cogent argument, entitled "The Anglican 
Bishops versus the Catholic Hierarchy." Toovey, 1851. 


their compass and the full ring of their metal, in honour of 
Queen Bess, and to the confusion of the Pope and the 
princes of the Church. 

So it is now, so it was twenty years ago, nay, so it has 
been in all years as they came, even the least controver- 
sial. If there was no call for a contest, at least there 
was the opportunity of a triumph. Who could want 
matter for a sermon, when his thoughts would not flow, 
for convenient digression, or effective peroration ? Did 
a preacher wish for an illustration of heathen superstition 
or Jewish bigotry, or an instance of hypocrisy, igno- 
I'ance, or spiritual pride 1 the Catholics were at hand. 
The deliverance from Egypt, the golden calf, the fall of 
Dagon, the sin of Solomon, the cruelties of Jezebel, the 
worship of Baal, the destruction of the brazen serpent, 
the finding of the law, the captivity in Babylon, Nebu- 
chodonosor'^s image, Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, 
and Zealots, mint, anise, and cummin, brazen pots and 
vessels, all in their respective places and ways, would 
give opportunity to a few grave words of allusion to the 
" monstrous errors " or the " childish absurdities " of the 
" Romish faith."" Does any one wish an example of pride ? 
there stands Wolsey ; of barbarity l there is the Duke 
of Alva ; of rebellion ? there is Becket ; of ambition ? 
there is Hildebrand ; of profligacy ? there is Caesar 
Borgia ; of superstition ! there is Louis the Eleventh ; of 
fanaticism? there are the Crusaders. Saints and sin- 
ners, monks and laymen, the devout and the worldly, 
provided they be but Catholics, are heaped together in 
one indiscriminate mass, to be drawn forth for exposure 
according to the need. 

The consequence is natural ; — tell a person of ordinary 
intelligence, Churchman or Dissenter, that the vulgar 


allegations against us are but slanders, simple lies, or exag- 
gerations, or misrepresentations ; or, as far as they are 
true, admitting of defence or justification, and not to the 
point ; and he will laugh in your face at your simplicity, 
or lift up hands and eyes at your unparalleled effrontery. 
The utmost concession he will make is to allow the pos- 
sibility of incidental and immaterial error in the accusa- 
tions which are brought against us ; but the substance 
of the traditional view he believes, as firmly as he does 
the Gospel, and, if you refuse to admit it, he will say it 
is just what is to be expected of a Catholic, to lie and 
deceive. To tell him at his time of life, that Catholics 
do not rate sin at a fixed price, that they may not get 
absolution for a sin in prospect, that priests can live in 
purity, that nuns do not murder each other, that the 
laity do not make images their God, that Catholics 
would not burn Protestants if they could ! Why, all 
this is as perfectly clear to him, as the sun at noonday ; 
he is ready to leave the matter to the first person he 
happens to meet ; every one will tell us just the same ; 
only let us try ; he never knew there was any doubt at 
all about it : he is surprised, he thought we granted it. 
When he was young, he has heard it said again and 
again ; to his certain knowledge it has uniformly been 
said the last forty, fifty, sixty years, and no one ever 
denied it ; it is so in all the books he ever looked into ; 
what is the world coming to ? What is true, if this is 
not ? so Catholics are to be whitewashed ; what next ? 

And so he proceeds in detail ; — the Papists not wor- 
ship the Virgin Mary ! why they call her " Deipara," 
which means " equal to God." 

The Pope not the man of sin ! Why, it is a fact, that 
G 2 


the Romanists distinctly maintain that " the Pope is 
God, and God is the Pope." 

The Pope's teaching not a doctrine of devils ! Here 
is a plain proof of it ; Cardinal Bellarmine expressly 
" maintains that, if the Pope commanded us to practise 
vice or shun virtue, we are obliged to do so, under pain 
of eternal damnation."" 

Not a Pope Joan ! why, she was " John the Eighth, 
her real name was Gilberta, she took the name of John 
English, delivered public lectures at Rome, and was at 
length unanimously elected Pope." 

What ! Councils infallible ! Open your eyes, my 
brother, and judge for yourself ; " fifteen hundred public 
women followed the train of the Fathers of Constance." 

Jesuits ! here are at least twenty thousand in Eng- 
land ; and, horrible to say, a number of them in each of 
the Protestant Universities ; and doubtless a great many 
at Oscott. 

Beauty and sanctity of the Popish festivals ! do you 
not know that the Purification " is the very feast that 
was celebrated by the ancient Pagan Romans in honour 
of the goddess Proserpina ?" 

The Papists not corrupters of the Scriptures ! look 
into their Bibles, and you will find they read the prophecy 
in Genesis, " Slie shall crush thy head, and thou shalt 
lie in wait for her heel." 

Popery preach Christ ! no ; " Popery," as has been 
well said, " is the religion of priestcraft ; from the begin- 
ning to the end it is nothing but priest, priest, priest '." 

2 Vid. Stephen's Spirit of the Church of Rome ; Edgar's V^ariations ; 
Cramp's Text-Book of Popery, &c. ; the books I happen to have at 


I shall both weai-y and offend you, my Brothers, if I 
proceed. Even absurdity becomes tiresome after a time, 
and slanders cast on holy things and persons, when dwelt 
on, are too painful for a Catholic's ears ; yet it was 
necessary for my subject, to give instances of the popu- 
lar views of us and our creed, as they are formed by the 
operation of the Tradition of Elizabeth. 

Here I am reminded of another sort of tradition, 
started by a very different monarch, which in the event 
was handled very differently. It is often told how 
Charles the Second once sent a grave message to the 
Royal Society. That scientific body was founded in his 
reign, and the witty king, as became his well-known 
character, could not help practising a jest upon it. He 
proposed a question for its deliberation ; he asked it, as 
I dare say you have often heard, to tell him how it was 
that a live fish weighed less heavily in water than after 
it was dead. The Society, as it was in duty bound, 
applied itself to solve the phenomenon, and various were 
the theories to which it gave occasion. At last it oc- 
curred to its members to determine the fact, before 
deciding on any of them ; when, on making the experi- 
ment, to their astonishment they found, that the hypo- 
thesis was a mere invention of their royal masterX 
because the dead fish was not heavier in water than the 

Well would it be, if Englishmen in like manner, in- 
stead of taking their knowledge of us at a royal hand, 
would judge about us for themselves, before they hunted 
for our likeness in the book of Daniel, St. PauFs Epistles, 
and the Apocalypse. They then would be the first to 
smile at their own extravagances ; but, alas ! as yet, 
there are no signs of such ordinary prudence. Sensible 


in other matters, they lose all self-command when the 
name of Catholicism is sounded in their ears. They trust 
the voice of Henry or Elizabeth, with its thousand 
echoes, more than their own eyes, and their own expe- 
rience ; and they are zealous in echoing it themselves to 
the generation which is to follow them. Each in his 
turn, as his reason opens, is indoctrinated in the popular 
misconception. At this very time, in consequence of 
the clamour which has been raised against us, children 
in the streets, of four and five years old, are learning and 
using against us terms of abuse, which will be their tra- 
dition, all through their lives, till they are grey-headed, 
and have, in turn, to teach it to their grandchildren. 
They totter out, and lift their tiny hands, and raise their 
thin voices, in protest against those whom they are just 
able to understand are vei-y wicked and very dangerous ; 
and they run away in terror when they catch our eye. 
Nor will the growth of reason set them right ; the longer 
they live, and the more they converse with men, the 
more will they hate us. The Maker of all, and only 
He, can shiver in pieces this vast enchanted palace, in 
which our lot is cast ; may He do it in His time ! 



It was ray aim, Brothers of the Oratory, in my pre- 
ceding Lecture, to investigate, as far as time and place 
allowed, how it was that the one-sided view of the great 
religious controversy, which commenced between Rome 
and England three centuries since, has been so success- 
fully maintained in this country. Many things have 
changed among us during that long period ; but the 
hatred and the jealousy entertained by the population to- 
wards the Catholic Faith, and the scorn and pity which 
is felt at the sight of its adherents, have not passed 
away, have not been mitigated. In that long period, 
society has undergone various alterations, public opinion 
has received a development new in the history of the 
world, and many remarkable revolutions in national prin- 
ciple have followed. The received views on the causes 
and the punishment of crime, on the end of Government, 
on the mutual relations of town and country, on inter- 
national interests, and on many other great political 


questions have sustained, to say the least, great modifi- 
cations ; sciences, unknown before, bearing upon the eco- 
nomy of social life, have come into being ; medicine has 
been the subject of new doctrines, which have had their 
influence on various civil and municipal arrangements ; 
how is it then, that the feeling against Catholicism has 
remained substantially what it was in the days of 
Charles the Second or of George the Third ? How is 
it that Protestantism has retained its ascendancy, and 
that Catholic arguments and Catholic principles are at 
once misconstrued and ignored? And what increases 
the wonder is, that it has happened otherwise externally 
to our own island ; there is scarcely a country besides, 
where Catholicism at least is not respected, even if it is 
not studied ; and what is more observable still, scarcely 
a country besides, once Protestant, in which Protest- 
antism even exists at present, — if by Protestantism is 
understood the religion of Luther and Calvin. The phe- 
nomenon, great in itself, becomes greater, by its seeming 
to be all but peculiar to the British population. 

And this latter consideration is important also, as it 
anticipates a solution of the difficulty which the Pro- 
testant, were he able, would eagerly adopt. He would 
be eager to reply, if he could, that the Protestant spirit 
has survived in the land amid so many changes in poli- 
tical and social science, because certain political theories 
were false, but Protestantism is true : but if this is the 
ease, why has it not kept its ground and made its way in 
other countries also ? What cause can be assigned for 
its decay and almost extinction in those other countries, 
in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and New England, di- 
verse from each other in situation, in government, in 
language, and in character, where once it flourished ? 


Evidently it must be a cause peculiai' to England ; those 
foreign countries must have somethinor in common 
with each other which they have not in common with 
us. Now what is peculiar to our country is an esta- 
blished tradition of Protestantism ; what those other 
countries have in common with each other, is the absence 
of such tradition. Fact and argument have had fair 
play in other countries ; they have not had fair play 
here : the religious establishment has forbidden them 
fair play. But fact and ai-gument are the tests of truth 
and error ; Protestantism then has had an adventitious 
advantage in this country, in consequence of which it has 
not been tried, (as in the course of years otherwise it 
would have been tried, and has been tried elsewhere,) on its 
own merits. Instead then of concluding that it is true, 
because it has continued here during three centuries 
substantially the same, I should rather conclude that 
it is false, because it has not been able during that 
period to continue the same abroad. To the standing, 
compulsory Tradition existing here, I ascribe its con- 
tinuance here ; to fact and reason, operating freely else- 
where, I ascribe its disappearance elsewhere. 

This view of the subject is confirmed to us, when we 
consider, on the one hand the character of our country- 
men, on the other the character of those instruments 
and methods by which the Tradition of Protestantism is 
perpetuated among them. It has been perpetuated, 
directly or indirectly, by the sanction of an oath, im- 
posed on all those several sources of authority and in- 
fluence, from which principles, doctrines, and opinions 
are accustomed to flow. There is an established Tra- 
dition of law, and of the clergy, and of the court, and of 
the Universities, and of literature, and of good society ; 

H 2 



and all these act upon a people, peculiarly susceptible of 
the claims of personal merit, of embodied authority, of 
constituted order, of rank, and of reputation in the 
world, and little sensitive in comparison of abstract 
argument, logical sequence, moral fitness, historical re- 
sults, or foreign transactions. 

This was the point at which I stopped last week ; now 
I shall continue my investigation, and I shall introduce 
what I have to say by means of an objection. 

It may be objected, then, to the conclusions at which 
I have arrived, that I on my part have simply ignored 
the fact of the innumerable multitude of independent 
testimonies, which every one of the divines, the scholars, 
the lawyers, the men of letters, the statesmen, the men 
of the world, who have made the last three centuries 
glorious in 13ritain, has borne in his turn, in favour of 
Protestantism and to the disadvantage of the Catholic 

Bacon and Hooker, Taylor and Chillingworth, Hamp- 
den, Clarendon, and Falkland, Russell, Somers, and 
Walpole, Hobbes and Locke, Burnet and Addison, 
Hume and Robertson, Warburton and Horsley, Pitt and 
Fox, Walter Scott and Hallam, and a multitude of other 
illustrious names, nay, the whole host of educated men, 
are all separate authorities; each speaks for himself; 
they do not copy, the one from the other : there are 
among them men of extensive reading, profound phi- 
losophy, intimate knowledge of the world : they are all 
men of intelligence, and at least able to give an opinion. 
It is absurd to say otherwise. This simple conside- 
ration, it may be said, overthrows from its foundation 
the argument drawn out in my last week's Lecture, about 
the traditional character of Protestantism in England. 


Indeed my argument turns against myself : for I allowed 
on that occasion that a number of distinct testimonies, 
conspiring together into one view or representation, was 
a real and sound reason, nay, among the strongest of 
conceivable reasons, in its behalf: now this is just tlie 
state of the case as regards the argument for Pro- 
testantism, as drawn from the common consent of the 
English court, clergy, bar, literature, and general 

This is what will be said ; and I reply as follows : — I 
do not deny tiiat there arc great names on the side of 
Protestantism, which require to be considered by them- 
selves. Minds, which certainly are superior to the influ- 
ences of party, the prejudices of education, the sugges- 
tions of self-interest, the seductions of place and position, 
and tyranny of public opinion. And again, there are 
Protestant arguments, clear and broad, which remain, 
whether Protestantism is received, or whether it is not. 
I allow all this : but now I am considering, not the Pro- 
testantism of the few, but of the many : those great men, 
and those philosophical arguments, whatever be their 
weight, have no iuHuence with the many. Crowds do not 
assemble in Exeter Hall, mobs do not burn the Pope, 
from reverence for Lord Bacon, Locke, or Butler, or for 
any thing those gifted men have recorded. I am treating 
of the unpopularity of Catholicism now and here, as it 
exists, in the year 1861, and in London, or in Edinburgh, 
or in Birmingham, or in Bristol, or in Manchester, or in 
Glasgow : among the gentlemen and yeomen of York- 
shire, Devonshire, and Kent; in the Inns of Court, and 
in the schools and colleges of the land ; and, I say, this 
Tradition docs not flow from the nu)uth of the half dozen 
wise, or philosophic, or learned men wiu) can be sum- 


raoned in its support, but is a tradition of nursery stories, 
school stories, public-house stories, club-house stories, 
drawing-room stories, platform stories, pulpit stories ; a 
tradition of newspapers, magazines, reviews, pamphlets, 
romances, novels, poems, and light literature of all kind, 
literature of the day ; a tradition of selections from the 
English classics, bits of poetry, passages of history, ser- 
mons, chance essays, extracts from books of travel, 
anonymous anecdotes, lectures on prophecy, statements 
and arguments of polemical writers, made up into small 
octavoes for class-books, and into pretty miniatures for 
presents ; a tradition floating in the air ; which we found 
in being when we first came to years of reason ; which has 
been borne in upon us by all we saw, heard, or read, in 
high life, in parliament, in law courts, in general society; 
which our fathers told us had ever been in their day ; a 
tradition, therefore, truly universal and immemorial, and 
good as far as a tradition can be good, but after all, not 
more than a tradition is worth. I mean, requiring some 
ultimate authority to make it trustworthy. Trace up, 
then, the tradition to its very first startings, its roots and 
its sources, if you are to form a judgment, whether it is 
more than a tradition. It may be a good tradition, and 
yet after all good for nothing. What profit, though 
ninety-nine links of a chain be sound, if the topmost is 
broken ? Now I do not hesitate to assert, that this Pro- 
testant Tradition, on which English faith hangs, is wanting 
in the first link. Fierce as are its advocates, and high 
as is its sanction, yet, whenever we can pursue it through 
the mist of immemorial reception in which it commonly 
ends, and arrive at its beginnings, forthwith we find a 
flaw in the argument. Either facts are not forthcoming, 
or they are not sufficient for the purpose : sometimes 


they turn out to be imaginations or inventions, sometimes 
exaggerations, sometimes misconceptions ; something or 
other comes to hght which blunts their efficiency, and 
throws suspicion on the rest. Testimonies which were 
quoted as independent, turn out to be the same, or to be 
contradictory of each other, or to be too improbable to 
be true, or to have no good authority at all : so that our 
enemies find they cannot do better after all, than fall 
back on the general reception of the Tradition itself, as a 
reason for receiving it ; and they find it prudent to con- 
vict Catholics of all manner of crimes, on the ground of 
their being notoriously accused of them. 

Hard measure, scanty justice ! It is a principle of 
English law, that no one should bring a charge against 
another without being under the obligation of supporting 
it. Where should we be, any one of us, who would be 
safe, if any person who chose might, at any moment he 
would, impute to us what he pleased, bring us into court, 
call no witnesses, and obtain our conviction on his simple 
assertion l Why, at very least, an accuser is bound to 
make oath of the truth of what he says ; and that is but 
the first step of an investigation, not the termination of 
the process. And he must swear to a fact, not to an 
opinion, not to a surmise, not to what he has heard 
others say, but to what he has witnessed or knows. Nay, 
even though there be reasons for being sure of the guilt 
of the accused, it is a maxim of our law not to make him 
criminate himself, but to aim at convicting him by other 
means and other men. It seems a plain dictate of com- 
mon equity, that an accuser should have something to 
say for himself, before he can put the accused on his 

This righteous rule is simply set aside in the treatment 


of Catholics and their rehgion. Instead of the onus pro- 
bandi, as it is called, the burden of proof, lying with the 
accuser, it is simply thrown upon the accused. Any one 
may get up of a sudden, and may say what he will to our 
prejudice, without producing any warrant at all for the 
truth of his charge. He is not called upon to establish 
his respectability, or to state his opportunities or methods 
of knowing ; he need not give presumptive proof of his 
allegation ; he need not give his authorities ; he need 
only accuse ; and upon this the Protestant public turns 
round to the poor Catholic, and asks what he has to say 
in his defence, as if he had yet any thing to defend. There 
is a saying, that " a fool can ask more questions than a 
hundred wise men can answer :" and a bigot or a fanatic 
may be quite as successful. If a man presented himself 
this moment and said to me, " You robbed a person in 
the street of his pocket-book some ten years ago," what 
could I possibly say, except simply, " I did not V How 
could I prove it was false, when I had not been informed 
of the town, or the year, or the date, or the person on 
whom the pretended offence was committed ? Well, 
supposing my accuser went on to particulars, and said 
that I committed the crime in Birmingham, in the month 
of June, in the year 1 840, and in the instance of a person 
of the name of Smith. This, of course, would be some- 
thing, but no one would say even then it was enough, 
that is, supposing I had to reply to him on the spot. At 
the very moment I might not be able to say where I was 
on the specified day, and so I could only repeat as em- 
phatically as I was able, that the charge was utterly 

Next, supposing me to ask his reasons for saying it, 
how he knew it was I ? did he see me ? or was he told by 


an eye-witness? and supposing he were to decline to 
give me any information whatever, but contented himself 
with saying " that I was shuffling and evasive, for the 
thing was quite notorious." And, next, supposing 1 
suddenly recollected that, up to the year 1845, I had 
never once been in Birmingham in the course of my life ; 
yet, on my stating this, the accuser were to cry out that 
I should not escape, in spite of my attempt to throw 
dust in his eyes ; for he had a score of witnesses to prove 
the fact, and that, as to the exact year, it was a mere 
point of detail, on which any one might be mistaken. And 
supposing, on this unsupported allegation, a magistrate, 
without witnesses brought, or oath administered, or 
plausibility in the narrative, in spite of the accuser''s 
character, which was none of the best, in spite of the 
vagueness of his testimony, were to send me to the house 
of correction, — 1 conceive public opinion would say I was 
shamefully treated. 

But further, supposing when I was safely lodged in 
prison, some anonymous writer, in some third-rate news- 
paper, were boldly to assert that all priests were in the 
practice of stealing pocket-books from passengers in the 
streets ; and in proof thereof were to appeal to the noto- 
rious case of a priest in Birmingham who had been 
convicted of the offence, and moreover to the case of 
another, given in detail in some manuscript or other, 
contained somewhere or other in the royal library of 
Munich, and occurring some time or other between the 
seventh and the seventeenth centuries; and supposing, 
upon this anonymous letter, petitions were got up and 
signed numerously, and dispatched to the Imperial 
Parliament, with the object of sending all priests to the 
treadmill for a period not exceeding six months, as 


reputed thieves, whenever they were found walking in the 
public thoroughfai-es ; — would this answer an English- 
man's ideas of fairness or of humanity ? 

Now I put it to the experience, — I put it to the 
conscience of the Protestant world, — whether such is not 
the justice which it deals out to Catholics, as a matter of 
course. No evidence against us is too little ; no inflic- 
tion too great. Statement without proof, though inad- 
missible in every other case, is all fair when we are con- 
cerned. A Protestant is at liberty to bring a charge 
against us, and challenge us to refute, not any proof he 
brings, for he brings none, — but his simple assumption 
or assertion. And, perhaps, we accept his challenge, 
and then we find we have to deal with matters so vague 
or so minute, so general or so particular, that we are at 
our wits' end to know how to grapple with them. For 
instance, " Every twentieth man you meet is a Jesuit in 
disguise;" or, " Nunneries are, for the most part, prisons." 
How is it possible to meet such sweeping charges ? The 
utmost we can do, in the nature of things, is to show that 
this particular man, or that, is not a Jesuit ; or that 
this or that particular nunnery is not a prison ; but who 
said he was ? — who said it was ? What our Protestant 
accuser asserted was, that every twentieth man was a 
Jesuit, and most nunneries were prisons. How is this 
refuted by clearing this or that person or nunnery of the 
charge ? Thus, if the accuser is not to be called on to 
give proofs of what he says, we are simply helpless, and 
must sit down meekly under the imputation. 

At another time, however, a definite fact is stated, and 
we are referred to the authority on which it is put forward. 
What is the authority ? Albertus Magnus, perhaps, or 
Gerson, or Baronius, with a silence about volume and 


page ; their works consisting of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, 
or thirty folios, printed in double cokimns. How are 
we possibly to find the needle in this stack of hay ? Or, 
by a refinement of unfairness, perhaps a wrong volume or 
page is carelessly given ; and when we cannot find there 
the statement which our opponent has made, we are left 
in an unpleasant doubt whether our ill success is to be 
ascribed to our eyes or to his pen. 

Sonietimes, again, the crime charged on us is brought 
out with such startling vividness and circumstantial 
finish, as seem to carry their own evidence with them, 
and to dispense, in the eyes of the public, with the 
references which in fairness should attend it. The scene 
is laid in some fortress of the savage Apennine, or in 
secluded Languedoc, or in remote Poland, or the high 
table-land of Mexico, or it is a legend about some priest 
of a small village of Calabria, called Buonavalle, in the 
fourteenth century ; or about a monk of the monastery 
of S. Spirito, in S. Filippo d'Argiro, in the time of 
Charlemagne. Or the story runs, that Don Felix Ma- 
latesta de Guadalope, a Benedictine monk of Andalusia, 
and father confessor to the Prince of the Asturias, Avho 
died in 1821, left behind him his confessions in manu- 
script, which were carried off" by the French, with other 
valuable documents, from his convent, which they pillaged 
in their retreat from the field of Salamanca ; and that, 
in these confessions, he frankly avows that he had killed 
three of his monastic brothers of whom he was jealous, 
had poisoned half-a-dozen women, and sent off" in boxes 
and hampers to Cadiz and Barcelona thirty-five infants ; 
moreover, that he felt no misgivings about these abomin- 
able deeds, because, as he observes with great naivete^ 
he had every day, for many years, burnt a candle to the 


Blessed Virgin ; had cursed periodically all heretics, 
especially the royal family of England; had burned a 
student of Coimbra for asserting the earth went round the 
sun ; had worn about hira, day and night, a relic of St. 
Diego ; and had provided that five hundred masses should 
be said for the repose of his soul within eight days after 
his decease. 

Tales such as this, the like of which it is very easy to 
point out in print, are suitably contrived to answer the 
purpose which brings them into being. A Catholic, who, 
in default of testimony offered in their behalf, volunteers 
to refute them on their internal evidence, and sets about 
(so to say) cross-examining them, finds himself at once 
in an untold labyrinth of embarrassments. First he in- 
quires, is there a village in Calabria of the name of Buo- 
navalle ? is there a convent S. Spirito in the Sicilian town 
specified ? did it exist in the time of Charlemagne ? who 
were the successive confessors of the Prince of the Asturias 
during the first twenty years of this century ? what has 
Andalusia to do with Salamanca? when was the last 
Auto da fe in Spain ? did the French pillage any con- 
vent whatever in the neighbourhood of Salamanca about 
the year 1812 ? — questions sufficient for a school exami- 
nation. He goes to his maps, gazetteers, guide books, 
travels, histories ; — so(m a perplexity arises about the 
dates : are his editions recent enough for his purpose ? 
do their historical notices go far enough hack ? Well, 
after a great deal of trouble, after writing about to 
friends, consulting libraries, and comparing statements, 
let us suppose him to prove most conclusively the utter 
absurdity of the slanderous story, and to bring out a 
lucid, powerful, and unanswerable reply : who cares for 
it by that time? who cares for the story itself? it has 


done its work ; time stops for no man ; it has created or 
deepened the impression in the minds of its hearers that 
a monk commits murder or adultery as readily as he eats 
his dinner. Men forget the process by which they re- 
ceived it, but there it is, clear and indelible. Or sup- 
posing they recollect the particular slander ever so v/ell, 
still they have no taste or stomach for entering into a 
long controversy about it ; their mind is already made 
up ; they have formed their views ; their informant may 
indeed have been misinformed in some of his details ; it 
can be nothing more. Who can impose on them the 
perplexity and whirl of going through a bout of contro- 
versy, where " one says," and " the other says," and " Tie 
says that lie says that Tie does not say or ought not to 
say, what he does say or ought to say \ " It demands an 
effort and strain of attention which they have no sort of 
purpose of bestowing. The Catholic cannot get a fair 
hearing ; his book remains awhile in the shop windows, 
and then is taken down again. So true is this, from the 
nature of the human mind, that even though my present 
audience is well disposed, not hostile, to Catholicism, I 
should think it imprudent to enter into any minute in- 
vestigation of this or that popular calumny, from my con- 
viction that I should be detailing matters, which, except 
in the case of the very few, would engross without in- 
teresting, and weary without making an impression. 

Yet I think I may be able, or at least I will try, 
without taxing your patience to the utmost, to bring be- 
fore you two or three actual specimens of the mode in 
which the accusation against Catholics is conducted ; 
which may serve to give you some insight into the value 
of the Tradition which kings, lords, and commons are so 
zealous in upholding. The mighty Tradition flows on, 


replenished and refreshed continually by rivulets which, 
issuing from new fountain heads, make their way, in 
faithful and unfailing succession, into the main stream. 
I am going to put my finger on three of these small 
fountain heads of the Tradition, — which, as I have al- 
ready complained, are not commonly accessible ; — they 
shall not be springs of a vulgar quality, but they shall 
represent the intelligence, the respectabihty, and the 
strong sense of English society. The first shall be a 
specimen of the Tradition of Literature, the second of 
the Tradition of Wealth, and the third of the Tradition 
of Gentlemen. 

1. The first, which has to do with names well known 
in the aristocracy of talent and learning, will be some- 
what tedious, do what I will ; and I shall introduce it 
with a story. It is related by the learned Dr. Bentley, 
in his controversy with Boyle, about a century and a half 
ago, on some point of historical criticism. In the course 
of that controversy, his opponent happened to spell 
wrongly the name of a Greek town ; and, when he was 
set right, he made answer that it was the custom of our 
English writers so to spell it, and he proceeded to quote 
as many as five of them in proof of his assertion. On 
this Bentley observes : " An admirable reason, and worthy 
to be his own ; as if the most palpable error, that shall 
happen to obtain and meet with reception, must there- 
fore never be mended." After this, the " slashing" critic 
goes on to allude to the instance of an unlearned English 
priest, truly or not I know not, "who for thirty years 
together" (perhaps it was on taking the first ablution in 
the mass) " had always said, ' Quod ore mumpsimus,' 
instead of ' Quod ore sumpsimus,'' " and when, says 


Bentley, " a learned man told him of his blunder, ' I'll 
not change, says he, my old Mumpsimus for your new 
Sumpsimus.'' " Now this happily applies to the subject 
which I am going to illustrate, as you will presently see. 

I need not remind you how much is said among Pro- 
testants of the gross ignorance and superstition of the 
middle age ; indeed, we Catholics of the present date 
are considered its legitimate and veritable heirs. On 
this subject, one of the best read, most dispassionate, 
and deservedly esteemed writers of the present day, who, 
if any one, might be supposed, in historical matters, an 
original authority, in his " View of the State of Europe 
during the Middle Ages," writes as follows : — 

•' In the very best view that can be taken of monas- 
teries," he says, after allowing that many might be 
above reproach, " their existence is deeply injurious to the 
general morals of a nation. They withdraw men of pure 
conduct and conscientious principle from the exercise of 
social duties, and leave the common mass of human vice 
more unmixed. Such men are always inclined to form 
schemes of ascetic perfection, which can only be fulfilled 
in retirement ; but, in the strict rules of monastic life, 
and under the influence of a grovelling superstition, their 
virtue lost all its usefulness. They fell implicitly into 
the snares of crafty priests, who made submission to the 
Church, not only the condition, but the measure of all 
praise." Now comes the passage to which I am di- 
recting your attention. Observe, he is going on to his 
proof oi what he has asserted. " He is a good Christian, 
says Eligius, a saint of the seventh century, who comes 
frequently to church, who presents an oblation that it 
may be offered to God on the altar ; who does not taste 
the fruits of his land till he has consecrated a part of 


them to God ; who can repeat the Creed or the Lord's 
Prayer. Redeem your souls from punishment, while it 
is in your power ; offer presents and tithes to Churches, 
light candles in holy places, as much as you can afford, 
come more frequently to church, implore the protection 
of the saints ; for, if you observe these things, you may 
come with security at the day of judgment to say, 
' Give unto us, Lord, for we have given unto Thee V " 
The author then continues, " With such a definition of 
the Christian character, it is not surprising that any fraud 
and injustice became honourable, when it contributed to 
the riches of the clergy and glory of their order'." 

Now observe, first, he quotes St. Eligius, or Eloi, in 
order to show that Catholics were at that time taught 
that true Christianity consisted, not in the absence of 
fraud and injustice, or, again, of immorality, hatred, or 
strife, — but in merely coming to church, paying tithes, 
burning candles, and praying to the saints. But, ob- 
serve next, he does not quote from St. Eligius' own work, 
or refer to it on his own authority, but, well-read man as 
he is, still he simply relies on the authority of two other 
writers, and (what many well-read men would have 
omitted to do), he candidly confesses it. He refers to 
Dr. Robertson, the Scotch historian, and the celebrated 
German historian and critic, Mosheim. I do not see, 
then, that much blame attaches to this writer for pub- 
lishing what you will see presently is a most slanderous 
representation, beyond, indeed, his taking for granted the 
Protestant Tradition, his exercising faith in it as true, his 
not doubting the fidelity of the two authors in question, 
and, therefore, in a word, his saying, " Munipsimus," and 
passing it on. 

* Haliam's Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 353. 


Next we come to Dr. Robertson, the historian of 
Scotland, Charles the Fifth, and America, the friend of 
Hume, Adam Smith, Gibbon, and a host of hterati of the 
latter part of last century. In his history of the reign of 
the Emperor Charles the Fifth, who lived at the time of 
the Reformation, after observing that " the Christian 
religion degenerated, during those ages of darkness, into 
an illiberal superstition ;" that " the barbarous nations, 
instead of aspiring to sanctity and virfue, imagined that 
they satisfied every obligation of duty by a scrupulous 
observance of external ceremonies^'' Dr. Robertson anno- 
tates as follows : '''' all the religious maxims and practices 
of the dark ages are a proof of this. I shall produce on,e 
remarkable testimony in confirmation of it, from an author 
canonized by the Church of Rome, St. Eloy, or Eligius." 
And then he proceeds to quote, nearly in the same words 
as Mr. Hallam, though omitting some clauses and 
adding others, a translation from the passage which 
Mosheim sets down in his history, as if the original 
text of the saint"'s. And then he adds the remark of 
Dr. Maclaine, Mosheim's English translator, whom he 
is pleased to call " learned and judicious," and whose 
remark he calls a " very proper reflection." This remark 
is as follows : " We see here," says Maclaine, '•'• a large 
and ample description of the character of a good Chris- 
tian, in which there is not tlie least mention of the love of 
God, resignation to his will, obedience to his laws, or of 
justice, benevolence, and charity towards men." Here, 
then, we trace our " Mumpsimus" a step higher ; from 
Hallam to Robertson, from Robertson to the " learned 
and judicious" Maclaine. 

Robei-tson and Maclaine were Scotchmen ; but the 
Tradition was not idle the while in the south either. 


There was a certain learned Mr. White, well known, 
somewhat later than Robertson, in the University of 
Oxford. He was Professor of Arabic in that seat of 
learning, and happened one year to preach a set of 
Lectures which added most considerably to his reputation. 
I should not have noticed the circumstances attending 
them, did they not throw light on the measure of 
authority due to the divines, scholars, historians, states- 
men, lawyers, and polite writers, who are the doctors of 
the Protestant Tradition. The Lectures in question, 
which are delivered at Oxford yearly, on some theological 
subject, are the appointment of the governors of the 
place ; who, feeling the responsibility attached to this 
exercise of patronage, anxiously look about for the 
safest, or the most brilliant, or the most rising, or the 
most distinguished of their members, to whom to commit 
the guardianship of Protestantism, and the fair fame of 
the University. Some such person Mr. White was 
considered; and, on his appointment, he selected for 
his lectures a subject of great interest, — the rise and 
genius of Mahomet and his religion. Of learning he had 
enough ; eloquence, perhaps, he wanted ; yet what must 
have surprised his audience, when the time came for his 
exhibition, was the special elegance, splendour, and 
vivacity which showed themselves in his style. His 
periods, far from savouring of the austereness of an 
Oriental scholar, displayed the imagery, the antithesis, 
the flow, and the harmony of a finished rhetorician. 
The historian Gibbon, no mean judge of composition, 
goes out of his way to speak of his Lectures as "a 
volume of controversy" more "elegant and ingenious" 
than any Mahomedan pulpit was likely to have produced, 
had Oxford become Mahomedan instead of Protestant ; 


and is pleased to observe that the ^vrite^ " sustains the 
part of a lively and eloquent advocate," while he " some- 
times rises to the merit of an historian and a philo- 
sopher." Such were the Lectures delivered, and such 
was the reputation in consequence obtained by the Arabic 
Professor : however, after a time, it came to light that a 
great portion of the volume, at least many of its finest 
passages, were the writing of another. Indeed he was 
obliged to confess that he employed in the work, and 
actually paid for it, a country curate in Devonshire 
(who, I think, had once been a dissenting preacher), 
whom he supplied with the raw material of thought, and 
who returned it back to him in a dress suitable to the 
audience to whom it was to be presented. This was the 
man, who was getting credit for what was not his own, 
who, in treating of Mahomet, must make a diversion 
from his course, — which never comes amiss in a Protes- 
tant volume, — in order to bring a charge of incapability 
and pretence against the Catholic Church ; and what 
should he unluckily choose for the instrument of his 
attack but the identical passage of St. Eligius, and on 
that same authority of Mosheim, which had already been 
adopted by Kallam, Robertson, and Maclaine? Mr. 
White writes thus : — 

" No representation can convex/ stronger ideas of the 
melancholy state of religion in the seventh century, than 
the description of the character of a good Christian, as 
drawn at that period by St. Eligius, or Eloi, Bishop of 
Noyon." And then he quotes the extract, already cited, 
from the pages of Mosheim. 

And now we are approaching the fountain head of the 
Tradition, but first I must just allude to one other author 
of name, who bears the same testimony, to " Mumpsi- 


mus," and simply on the same authority. This is an 
elegant writer, a divine and an Archdeacon of the 
Established Church, who in the year 1773, pubhshed 
" Remarks on Ecclesiastical History." In the table of 
contents prefixed to the third volume, we are referred to 
" Eligius' system of Religion ;" and turning to the page 
set against that descriptive title, we are told, "In this 
seventh century, . . . monkery flourished prodigiously, and 
the monks and Popes were in the firmest union. As to 
true religion, here is the sum and substance of it, as it is 
drawn up for us by Eligius, one of the principal saints of 
that age." And then follows the cut-and-dried passage 
as given by Mosheim. 

Now, at last, let us proceed to the first father of 
Mumpsimus, the Lutheran Mosheim himself. His words 
run thus in his Ecclesiastical History : " During this 
century (the seventh) true religion lay buried under a 
senseless mass of superstitions, and was unable to raise her 
head. The earlier Christians . . . taught that Christ had 
made expiation for the sins of men by his death and his 
blood; the latter" (those of the seventh century), "seemed 
to inculcate that the gates of heaven would be closed 
against none who should enrich the clergy or the church 
with their donations. The former were studious to 
maintain a holy simplicity, and to follow a pure and 
chaste piety, the latter place the substance of religion in 
external rites and bodily exercises?'' And then, in order 
to illustrate this contrast, which he has drawn out, 
between the spirituality of the first Christians and the 
formality of the Papists, he quotes the famous passage 
which has been the matter of our investigation. 

Brothers of the Oratory, take your last look at the 
Protestant Tradition, ere it melts away into thin air 


from before your eyes. It carries with it a goodly suc- 
cession of names, Mosheim, Jortin, Maclaine, Robertson, 
White, and Hallam. It extends from 1755 to the year 
1833. But in this latter year, when it was now seventy- 
eight years old, it met with an accident attended with fatal 
consequences. Some one for the first time, instead of 
blindly following the traditional statement, thought it 
worth while first to consult St. Eligius himself. His 
work is in every good library ; but to no one had it 
occurred to take it from the shelf, till the present Pro- 
testant Dean of Durham, Dr. Waddington, while he was 
engaged in publishing an Ecclesiastical History, at the 
date I have named. At first, indeed, he relied on his 
Protestant masters ; and, taking Mosheim for his guide, 
and quoting St. Eligius from his volume, he observes 
that, as the saint was " a person of influence in his day, 
we may venture to record what, in his opinion, was the 
sum and substance of true religion." Then follows the 
old extract. This is at the 153rd page of Dr. Wadding- 
ton's work ; but, by the time he got to page 298, he had 
turned to the original, and the truth came out. He 
found that the received Protestant extract was only 
a small portion, nay, only sentences picked out here 
and there, of a very long sermon, — other sentences of 
which, close by, and in the very midst of those actually 
quoted, contained all those very matters, the supposed 
absence of which was the very charge brought against St. 
Eligius by Mosheim, Maclaine, Robertson, Jortin, White, 
and Hallam. They, forsooth, pure Protestants, had been 
so shocked and scandalized, that there was nothing of moral 
virtue in the saint^s idea of a Christian, nothing of love 
of God, or of man ; nothing of justice, of truth, of know- 
ledge, of honesty ; whereas, in matter of fact, there 


turned out to be an abundance of these good things, 
drawn out in sentences of their own, though certainly not 
in the other sentences which those authors had ex- 
tracted. 1 will quote what Dr. Waddington says, on 
his discovery of his mistake : — 

He says that " the sense, and even the words" of the 
passage which he had cited, " had been previously re- 
tailed both by Robertson and Jortin, and the original 
quoted by Mosheim ;" but that he had since " been led 
to look more particularly into the hfe of Eligius, as it is 
published in the ' Spicilegium Dacherii V " Then, he 
continues, " he" — that is himself, the Author — " was 
pleased to discover very excellent precepts and pious ex- 
hortations scattered among the strange matter" — so he 
speaks as a Protestant — " with which it abounds. But 
at the same time it was with great sorrow and some 
shame, that he ascertained the treachery of his historical 
conductor," that is, Mosheim. " The expressions cited 
by Mosheim," he continues, " and cited, too, with a 
direct reference to the ' Spicilegium/ " in which the 
Sermon is contained, " were forcibly brought together 6t/ 
a very unpardonable mutilation of his authority. They 
are to be found, indeed, in a Sermon preached by the 
Bishop, but found in the society of so many good and 
Christian maxims^ that it had been charitable entirely to 
overlook them, as it was certainly unfair to weed them 
out and heap them together, without notice of the rich 
harvest that surrounds them." 

He then proceeds to quote some of the exhortations of 
the Saint to which he alludes, and which Mosheim had 
omitted. For instance : — " Wherefore, my brethren, 
love your friends in God, and love your enemies for God, 
for he who loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled the law. . . . 


He is a good Christian who believes not in charms or 
inventions of the devil, but places the whole of his hope in 
Christ alone ; who receives the stranger with joy, as 
though he were receiving Christ Himself . . . who gives alms 
to the poor in proportion to his possessions . . . who has no 
deceitful balances nor deceitful measures . . . who both lives 
chastely himself, and teaches his neighbours and his chil- 
dren to live chastely, and in the fear of God. . . . Behold, ye 
have heard, my brethren, what sort of people good Chris- 
tians are ... to the end that ye be true Christians, 
always ponder the precepts of Christ in your mind, and also 
fulfil them in your practice. . . . Keep peace and charity, 
recal the contentious to concord, avoid lies, tremble at 
perjury, bear no false witness, commit no theft . . . ob- 
serve the Lord''s day ... do as you would be done by , . . 
visit the infirm . . . seek out those who are in prison." 
So the holy Bishop proceeds ; and then he adds, " If you 
observe these things, you may appear boldly at God's tri- 
bunal in the day of judgment, and say, Give, Lord, as we 
have given." Scattered about in the midst of these ex- 
hortations, are the few sentences, excellent also, in spite 
of Dr. Waddington, though not the whole of Christianity, 
which the Protestant writers have actually quoted. 

Such is the Sermon upon which Dr. Maclaine makes 
this (what Robertson calls) "very proper reflection." "We 
see here a large and ample description of the character of a 
good Christian, in which there is not the least mention of 
the love of God, resignation to his will, obedience to his 
laws, or justice, benevolence, or charity towards men."" 
But as Mosheim and his followers have their opinion of 
St. Eligius, so, in turn, has Dr. Waddington his opi- 
nion of Mosheim. " The impression," he says, " which" 
Mosheim by "stringing together" certain sentences "with- 



out any notice of the context, conveys to his readers, is 
icholly false ; and the calumny thus indirectly cast upon 
his author is not the less reprehensible, because it falls 
on one of the obscurest Saints in the Roman calendar. 
If the very essence of history be truth, and if any deli- 
berate violation of that be sinful in the profane annalist, 
still less can it deserve pardon or mercy in the historian 
of the Church of Christ." 

This, as T have said, took place in 1833: two years 
later the exposure was repeated, in a brilliant paper in- 
serted by Dr. Maitland in an Ecclesiastical Magazine, 
the Editor drawing the especial attention of his readers 
to his correspondent's remarks *. 

However, after all, I could not help expressing to 
myself, after surveying the whole course of their exposure, 
my intense misgivings that their efforts would be in vain. 
I knew enough of the Protestant mind, to be aware how 
little the falsehood of any one of its traditions is an 
effectual reason for its relinquishing it ; and I find 
too truly that I was not mistaken in my anticipation. 
Mumpsimus still reigns. In a new edition of Mosheim's 
history, published in 1841, the editor, a recent successor 
of Mr. White in the Oxford lectures, reprints those 
precious legacies, the text of Mosheim, the " very proper 
reflection" of Maclaine, and the garbled quotation from 
St. Eligius, for the beniefit of the rising generation of 
divines, without a word of remark, or any thing whatever 
to show that a falsehood had been uttered, a falsehood tra- 
ditionally perpetuated, a falsehood emphatically exposed. 

2. I have given you, my brothers, a specimen of the 

* I do not add Dr. Lingard as being a Catholic authority. 


Tradition of Literature ; now I proceed to the Tradition 
of Wealth, RespectabiHty, Virtue, and Enlightened Reli- 
gion ; for all these, in a country like ours, are supposed 
to go together, the Tradition of our merchants, traders, 
and men of business, and of all who have any thing to lose, 
and are therefore conscientiously attached to the Con- 
stitution. And I shall select, as the organ of their Tra- 
dition, a writer, whom they will at once acknowledge to 
be an unexceptionable representative of their ideas. If 
there be a periodical of the day which lays claim to 
knowledge of this globe, and of all that is in it, which is 
Catholic in its range of subjects, its minute curiosity, 
and its world-wide correspondence, which has dealings 
with all the religions of the earth, and ought to have the 
largeness and liberality of view which such manifold 
intercourse is calculated to create, it is the " Times"" 
newspaper. No one avows so steady a devotion to the 
great moral precepts embodied in the Decalogue, or pro- 
fesses so fine a sense of honour and duty, or is so deeply 
conscious of his own influence on the community, and of the 
responsibilities which it involves, or so alive to the truth 
of the maxim, that, in the general run of things, honesty 
is the best pohcy. What noble, manly, disinterested 
sentiments does he utter ! what upright intention, strong- 
sense, and sturdy resolution, are the staple of his com- 
position ! what indignation does he manifest at the sight 
of vice or baseness ! what detestation of trickery ! what so- 
lemn resolve to uphold the oppressed ! what generous sym- 
pathy with innocence calumniated ! what rising of heart 
against tyranny ! what gravity of reprobation ! how, 
when Catholic and Protestant are in fierce political an- 
tagonism, he can mourn over breaches of charity, in 
which he protests the while he has had no share ! with 


what lively sensibility and withering scorn does he en- 
counter the accusation, made against him by rivals every 
half-dozen years, of venality or tergiversation ! If any 
where is to be found the sternness of those who are severe 
because they are pure — who may securely cast stones, for 
none can cast at them — who, like the Cherub in the poem, 
are " faithful found among the faithless" — you would say 
that here at length you had found the incorruptible, the 
guide in a bad world, who amid the illusions of reason 
and the sophistries of passion, sees the path of duty on 
all questions whatever, with a luminousness, a keen- 
ness, and a certainty special to himself. When, then, I 
would illustrate the value of the Anti- Catholic Tradition, 
as existing among the money-making classes of the com- 
munity, I cannot fix upon a more suitable sample than the 
statements of this accomplished writer. Accordingly, i 
refer to his columns ; and towards the end of a leading 
article, in the course of the last month or six weeks, I find 
the following sentence: — " It is the practice,as our readers 
are aware, in Roman Catholic countries, for the clergy to 
post up a list o?all the crimes to which human frailty can be 
tempted, placing opposite to them the exact sum of money 
for which their perpetration will be indulged*." And 
what makes this statement the more emphatic, is the 
circumstance, that within two or thi'ee sentences after- 
wards, — ever mindful, as I have said, of the Tables of 
the Law, — he takes occasion to refer to the divine pro- 
hibition, " Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy 

Such is a specimen of the Tradition, marvellous to say, 
as it exists among the classes who are well to do in the 
world. You see, they are so clear on the point, that, 
' June, 1861. 


for all their mercantile sense of the value of character, 
their disgust at false intelligence, their severity with 
fraud, and their sensitiveness at libel, they have no he- 
sitation in handing down to the next generation this 
atrocious imputation, that the Catholic Church gives out 
that she is commissioned by the Moral Governor of the 
world to bestow on her children permission to perpetrate 
any sin whatever, for which they have a fancy, on con- 
dition of their paying her a price in money for that 
perpetration, in proportion to the heinousness of the 

Now this accusation is not only so grave in itself, but, 
miserable to say, is so industriously circulated, that, be- 
fore using it for the purpose for which I have introduced 
it, in order to remove all suspicion against us, I am in- 
duced to go out of my way to enunciate, as briefly and as 
clearly as I can, what the Catholic Church really does 
teach upon the subject*. The charge in question then 
rests on a confusion between the forgiveness of sins and 
admission to Church communion, two ideas perfectly dis- 
tinct from each other, both in themselves and in Catholic 
theology. Every great sin contains in it, as we consider, 
two separate offences, the offence against God, and the 
offence against the Church; just as Protestants would 
allow that murder is at once a sin against God and our 
neighbour, a sin in the eyes of God, and a crime in the 
eyes of the law. And, as human society has the arbi- 
trary power of assigning punishments to offences against 
itself, heavy or light, or of overlooking the offence alto- 
gether, or of remitting the penalty when imposed, so has 

* The subject of Indulgences does not enter into the charge as contained 
in the extract from the " Times ;" but I purpose to add a word about it 
at the end of the volume. 


the Church. And as the magistrate often inflicts a fine, 
under sanction of the law, instead of committing to 
prison, so does the Church allow of the commutation of 
her own punishments, which are called censures, into 
alms to the poor, into offerings for some religious object, 
or even into the mere paying the expenses of the pro- 
cess, that is, the costs of the suit. And as the con- 
nivance or free pardon of the magistrate is no pardon in 
the sight of heaven of the adulterer or the burglar, nor 
is supposed to be such, so neither does the offender re- 
ceive, nor is he promised any forgiveness of his sin, either 
by the^^ Church''s taking off the censure, whether in conse- 
quence of an almsgiving or otherwise, or by her forbearing, 
which is the common case, to inflict censure altogether. 
It is true the Church has the power of forgiving sins 
also, which I shall speak of directly, but this is by a 
different instrument, and by a totally different process, 
as every Catholic knows. 

I repeat, the Catholic who perpetrates any serious 
sin offends his Maker and offends his ecclesiastical so- 
ciety ; the injury against his INIaker is punished by an 
ipso facto separation from His favour ; the injury against 
his society, when it is visited at all, is visited by excom- 
munication or other spiritual infliction. The successor 
of St. Peter has the power committed to him of par- 
doning both offences, the offence against God and the of- 
fence against the Church ; he is the ultimate source of all 
jurisdiction whether external or internal, but he commonly 
restores a man to the visible society of Christians, by an 
act of his own or of the metropolitan or ordinary, and he 
reconciles him to God by the agency of the priesthood. 
Repentance is required on the part of the offender for 
both restorations ; but the sin is forgiven and its pu- 


nishment remitted in the sacrament of Penance ; and 
here, which is the only real pardon, no money is, or ever 
can be paid. The sacrament cannot be bought ; such 
an act would be a horrible crime ; you know this, my 
brothers, as I know it myself ; we witness to each other 
that such is the received teaching among us. It is ut- 
terly false then to assert that it has ever been held in 
the Catholic Church that "the perpetration of crime 
could be indulged" for any sum of money. Neither for 
sins committed, nor sins to come, has money ever been 
taken as an equivalent, for one no more than for the 
other. On the other hand, it is quite true that the in- 
jury done to the Church, when it has been visited with a 
censure (which is not a common case), has certainly some- 
times been compensated by the performance of some good 
work, and in the number of such works, almsdeeds and 
religious offerings are included. I repeat, the Church as 
little dreams of forgiving the sinner by removing the 
censure and re-admitting him to public communion, as 
the magistrate by letting a culprit out of prison. 

And in matter of fact, the two acts, the external re- 
conciliation and the inward absolution, are not neces- 
sarily connected together. The Church is composed of 
bad as well as good, according to the Parable, which 
prophesied that the net should gather of every kind ; a 
man then may be re-admitted to visible fellowship on a 
general profession of repentance, yet when he proceeds 
to the Sacrament of Penance may be unable to satisfy 
the priest that his repentance is sincere, and may fail of 
absolution. Then he would be in the case, alas ! so 
commonly found in the Church, and ever to be found — 
viz., allowed to attend mass, to hear sermons, to take 
part in rites, offices, and processions, and regarded as a 


Christian, yet debarred from the use of the Sacraments, 
from Penance, Holy Eucharist, and Extreme Unction, 
getting no benefit from Indulgences, meriting nothing for 
his salvation, but on the contrary being separate from 
his God, and lying under His wrath, and a dead branch, 
though he has offered his alms, and is visibly connected 
with the trunk. On the other hand, it is quite con- 
ceivable, that the spiritual reconciliation, that is, the for- 
giveness of sin, might be bestowed without the external 
or ecclesiastical restoration. This took place, I think, in 
the case of the Emperor Napoleon, who, up to the hour 
of his death, lay under the censures of the Church, and 
was excommunicate, yet in his last days expressed a desire 
to be reconciled to God. To the ecclesiastical society 
perhaps he could not be fully reconciled without sending 
to Rome ; but it is never too late to be saved ; he con- 
fessed, and was admitted to communion ; and if his re- 
pentance was true, he departed with an absolute cer- 
tainty of heaven, though he had not received that external 
restoration to the visible body to which offerings and 
alms have sometimes been attached*. 

However, in spite of the clear and broad distinction I 
have been laying down, it is the Tradition of Protes- 
tantism, immutable and precise, as expressed in the words 
of its eminent teacher and Doctor I have quoted, that 
the Catholic Church professes to forgive sins past and to 
come, on the payment of a price. So it has come down 
to us, so it will flow on ; and the mighty flood of false- 
hood is continually fed and kept to the full by fresh and 

* I think I recollect an absolutio post mortem, when La Belle Poule 
was sent out for his remains. I do not forget the passage in the Council, 
Pie admodum, ne hac ipsa occasione qiiis pereat, &c. Sess. 14, de Poen. 
c. 7. Vid. Ferrari's Biblioth. v. Absol. art. i. 55 — 67- 


fresh testimonies, separate and independent, till scepticism 
is overcome and opposition is hopeless. And now I am 
going to give you an account of one of these original 
authorities as they are considered, who has lately pre- 
sented himself to the world, in the person of a zealous 
Protestant clergyman, who once visited Belgium, and on 
occasion of the late outcry about '^ Popish Aggression" 
was moved to give to his brethren the benefit of his 
ocular witness in behalf of one of the most flagrant abuses 
and abominations of " that corrupt church." 

His account, given at a public meeting, was to the fol- 
lowing effect : That in the year 1835, when on a visit to 
Brussels, he was led to inspect the door of the Cathedral 
St. Gudule's ; and that there he saw fastened up a cata- 
logue of sins, with a specification of the prices at which 
remission of each might severally be obtained. No cir- 
cumstance, it would appear, called for his giving this 
information to the world for the long space of sixteen 
years ; and it is a pity for the Protestant cause that 
another sixteen did not pass before circumstances sug- 
gested his doing so. Why did he not consign it to some 
safe volume of controversy, weighty enough for Eng- 
land, too heavy for the channel, instead of committing it 
to the wings of the wind and the mercy of reporters ? 
Then tranquilly and leisurely would the solemn tale have 
ventured out upon platforms and into pulpits, when con- 
temporaries were gone, and would have taken its place 
beside my own Don Felix of Andalusia and similar 
worthies of Exeter Hall. But the fates willed other- 
wise ; the accessory was to join the main stream at once, 
and to its surprise to be tumbled violently into its bed ; 
the noise drew attention ; curiosity was excited ; the 
windings of the infant rill were prematurely tracked to 



its source : so we can now put our finger on the first 
well-ng of its waters, and we can ascertain the com- 
position of a Protestant tradition. 

On the news of this portentous statement getting to 
]Jrussels, it excited a commotion which it could not 
rouse among the Cathohcs of England. We are fami- 
liarized to calumny, and have learned resignation; the 
good Belgians were surprised and indignant at what they 
had thought no sane man would have ventured to ad- 
vance. Forthwith a Declaration was put forth by the 
persons especially interested in the Cathedral, catego- 
rically denying the charge. It is signed by the Dean of 
Brussels, who is also cure of the Cathedral, by his four 
assistant clergymen, by the Churchwardens, by the judge 
of the high court of justice, and two other judges, 
and by others. They observe that they had privately 
asked the accuser to withdraw his statement ; and 
on his refusal they make the following terse Declara- 
tion : 

" The undersigned look upon it as a duty to come for- 
ward and protest against the allegations of the" clergy- 
man in question. " They declare, upon their honour, 
that such a notice as the one spoken of by the said 
clergyman has never disgraced the entx'ance, either of the 
church of St. Gudule, or of any other church of Brus- 
sels, or of the whole country. They further declare, 
that they have never even suspected for one instant that 
permission to sin could, for any possible motive, be 
granted, nor that any one could ever obtain remission of 
his sins for money. Such a doctrine they repudiate with 
indignation, as it is, and always has been, repudiated by 
the whole of the Catholic Church." This Declaration is 
signed, " Brussels, April 2, 1851." 


One thing alone was wanting to complete the refuta- 
tion of the slander; and that was, to account how its 
author was betrayed into so extraordinary a misrepre- 
sentation. No one will accuse a respectable person of 
wilful and deliberate falsehood : did his eyes or his me- 
mory deceive him ? or did he really see something on the 
door, which he wrongly translated and interpreted by his 
prejudices ? that the latter is the true explanation of the 
phenomenon, is probable from a piece of information 
with which a Brussels journal supplies us. I dare say 
you know that in cathedrals and large churches abroad 
chairs are used for worship instead of benches ; and they 
are generally farmed by the beadles or others attached to 
the church, who let them out to all comers at the price of 
a small copper coin every time they are used. Now it so 
happens that on the right-hand door of the transept of this 
church of St. Gudule there really is affixed a black board, 
on which there is a catalogue in the French langruage of 
the price to be paid, not for sins, but for the use of 
these chairs. The inscription translated runs as follows : 
" a chair without cushion, one cent (about a farthing) ; 
a chair with cushion, two cents. On great festival days ; 
a chair without cushion, two cents ; a chair with cushion, 
four cents." This board it may be supposed our anti- 
Catholic witness mistook for that abominable sin-table, 
the description of which so deservedly shocked the zea- 
lous Protestants of Faversham. 

Such is the ultimate resolution, as detected in a par- 
ticular instance, of that uniform and incontestable Pro- 
testant Tradition, that we sell sin for money. The expo- 
sure happened in March and April ; but Protestantism 
is infallible, and the judgments of its doctors irreversible ; 
accordingly in the following June, the newspaper I have 


mentioned thought it necessary to show that the Tra- 
dition was not injured by the blow ; so out it came 
again, " though brayed in a mortar," not at all the worse 
for the accident, in that emphatic statement which I 
quoted when I opened the subject, and which I now 
quote again that I am closing it. " It is the practice," 
the writer pronounces ex cathedra, " as our readers are 
aware, in Roman Catholic countries to post up a list of 
all the crimes to which human frailty can be tempted, 
placing opposite to them the exact sum of money for 
which their perpetration will be indulged." 

3. Two of my instances are dispatched, and now I 
come to my third. There is something so tiresome in 
passing abruptly from one subject to another, that I need 
your indulgence, my brothers, in making this third be- 
ginning ; yet it has been diflficult to avoid it, when my 
very object is to show what extensive subject matters 
and what different classes of the community are acted 
on by the Protestant Tradition. Now I am proceeding 
to the Legislature of the nation, and will give an instance 
of its operation in a respectable political party. 

Its fountain springs up in this case, as it were, under 
our very feet, and we shall have no difficulty at all in 
judging of its quality. Its history is as follows : — 
Coaches, omnibuses, carriages, and cars, day after day 
drive up and down the Hagley Koad ; passengers lounge 
to and fro on the footpath ; and close alongside of 
it are discovered one day the nascent foundations and 
rudiments of a considerable building. On inquiring, it is 
found to be intended for a Catholic, nay even for a mo- 
nastic establishment. This leads to a good deal of talk, 
especially when the bricks begin to show above the sur- 


face. Meantime the unsuspecting architect is taking 
his measurements, and ascertains that the ground is far 
from lying level ; and then, since there is a prejudice 
among Catholics in favour of horizontal floors, he comes 
to the conclusion that the bricks of the basement must 
rise above the surface higher at one end of the building 
than at the other ; in fact, that whether he will or no, 
there must be some construction of the nature of a vault 
or cellar at the extremity in question, a circumstance 
not at all inconvenient, considering it also happens to be 
the kitchen end of the building. Accordingly, he turns 
his necessity into a gain, and by the excavation of a few 
feet of earth he forms a number of chambers convenient 
for various purposes, partly beneath, partly above the 
line of the ground. While he is thus intent on his 
work, gossipers, loungers, alarmists, are busy at theirs 
too. They go round the building, they peep into the 
underground brickwork, and are curious about the 
drains® ; they moralize about Popery and its spread ; at 

* It is true, though the gentleman who has brought the matter before 
the pubHc has accidentally omitted to mention it, that the Protestant 
feeling has also been excited by the breadth of the drain, which is consi- 
dered excessive, and moreover crosses the road. There exists some nervous- 
ness on the subject in the neighbourhood, as I have been seriously given 
to understand. There is a remarkable passage, too, in his builder's 
report, which has never been answered or perhaps construed : " One of 
the compartments was larger than the rest, and teas evidently to be covered 
in without the building over it." This is not the first time a dwelling of 
mine has been the object of a mysterious interest. When our cottages 
at Littlemore were in course of preparation, they were visited on horse- 
back and on foot by many of the most distinguished residents of the 
University of Oxford. Heads of houses and canons did not scruple to inves- 
tigate the building within and without, and some of them went so far as to 
inspect and theorize upon the most retired portions of the premises. Per- 
haps some thirty years hence, in some " History of my own times" specu- 
lations may be found on the subject, in aid of the Protestant Tradition. 

K 2 


length they trespass upon the inclosure, they dive into 
the half-finished shell, and they take their fill of seeing 
\Yhat is to be seen, and imagining what is not. Every 
house is built on an idea ; you do not build a mansion 
like a public office, or a palace like a prison, or a factory 
like a shooting box, or a church like a barn. Religious 
houses in like manner have their own idea ; they have 
certain indispensable peculiarities of form and internal 
arrangement. Doubtless there was much in the very 
idea of an Oratory perplexing to the Protestant intellect, 
and inconsistent with Protestant notions of comfort and 
utility. Why should so large a room be here ? why so 
small a room there ? why a passage so long and wide, 
and why so long a wall without a window? the very 
size of the house needed explanation. Judgments, which 
had employed themselves on the high subject of a Ca- 
tholic hierarchy and its need, found no difficulty in 
dogmatising on bed-rooms and closets. There was 
much to suggest matter of suspicion, and to predis- 
pose the trespasser to doubt, whether he had yet got 
to the bottom of the subject. At length one ques- 
tion flashed upon his mind ; what can such a house 
have to do with cellars ? cellars and monks, what can be 
their mutual relation? monks, to what possible use can 
they put pits, and holes, and corners, and outhouses, and 
sheds ? A sensation was created ; it brought other 
visitors; it spread; it became an impression, a beHef; 
the truth lay bare ; a tradition was born ; a fact was 
ehcited which thenceforth had many witnesses. Those 
cellars were cells. How obvious when once stated ! and 
every one who entered the building, every one who 
passed by, became, I say, in some sort, ocular vouchers 
for what had often been read of in books, but for many 


generations had happily been unknown to England, for 
the incarcerations, the torturings, the starvings, the im- 
murings, the niurderings proper to a monastic esta- 

Now T am tempted to stop for a while, in order 
to improve (as the evangelical pulpits call it) this 
most memorable discovery. I will therefore briefly 
consider it under the heads of, 1. the accusation ; 
2. ITS GUODNDS ; 3. THE ACCUSERS ; and, 4. the 


First, THE Accusation ; it is this, — that the Catholics, 
building the house in question, were in the practice of 
conmiitting murder. This was so strictly the charge, 
that, had the platform selected for making it been other 
than it is said to have been, I suppose the speaker might 
have been indicted for libel. His words were these : " It 
was not usual for a coroner to hold an inquest, unless 
where a rumour had got abroad that there was a necessity/ 
for one ; and how was a rumour to Qovaefrom the under- 
ground cells of the convents? Yes, he repeated, under- 
ground cells : and he would tell them something about 
such places. At this moment, in the parish of Edg- 
baston, within the borough of Birmingham, there was a 
large convent, of some kind or other, being erected, and 
the whole of the underground was fitted up with cells ; 
and what were those cells for?''"' 

Secondly. — The Grounds of the Accusation. — 
They are simple ; behold them, 1. that the house is built 
level ; 2. that the plot of earth on which it is built is 
higher at one end than at the other. 

Thirdly. — The Accusers. — This, too, throws light 
upon the character of Protestant traditions. Not weak 
and ignorant people only, not people at a distance, — but 


educated men, gentlemen well connected, high in posi* 
tion, men of business, men of character, members of the 
legislature, men familiar with the locality, men who 
know the accused by name, — such are the men who 
deliberately, reiteratedly, in spite of being set right, 
charge certain persons with pitiless, savage practices; 
with beating and imprisoning, with starving, with mur- 
dering their dependents. 

Fourthly. — The Accused. — I feel ashamed, my bro- 
thers, of bringing my own matters before you, when far 
better persons have suffered worse imputations ; but bear 
with me. I then am the accused. A gentleman of blame- 
less character, a county member, with whose near relatives 
I have been on terms of almost fraternal intimacy 
for a quarter of a century, who knows me by repute 
far more familiarly (I suppose) than any one in this 
room, putting aside my personal friends ; he it is 
who charges me, and otheis like me, with delighting in 
blood, with enjoying the shrieks and groans of agony and 
despair, with -presiding at a banquet of dislocated limbs, 
quivering muscles, and wild countenances. O, what a 
world is this ! Could he look into our eyes and say it ? 
Would he have the heart to say it, if he recollected of 
whom he said it ? For who are we ? Have we lived in a 
corner ? have we come to light suddenly out of the earth ? 
We have been nourished, for the greater part of our lives, 
in the bosom of the great schools and universities of 
Protestant England ; we have been the foster sons of the 
Edwards and Henries, the Wykehams and ^Volseys, of 
whom Englishmen are wont to make much; we have 
grown up amid hundreds of contemporaries, scattered at 
present all over the country, in those special ranks of 
society which are the very walk of a member of the 


legislature. Our names are better known to the educated 
classes of the country than those of any others who are 
not public men. Moreover, if there be men in the 
whole world who may be said to live in publico, it is the 
members of a College at one of our Universities ; living, 
not in private houses, not in families, but in one or two 
apartments which are open to all the world, at all hours, 
with nothing, I may say, their own ; with college servants, 
a common table, — nay, their chairs and their bedding, 
and their cups and saucers, down to their coal-scuttle 
and their carpet brooms, — a sort of common property, 
and the right of their neighbours. Such is that manner 
of life, in which nothing, I may say, can be hid ; where 
no trait of character or peculiarity of conduct but comes 
to broad day, — such is the life I myself led for above a 
quarter of a century, under the eyes of numbers who are 
familiarly known to my accusers ; such is the life which 
we all have led ever since we have been in Birmingham, 
with our house open to all comers, and ourselves accessible, 
I may almost say, at any hour ; and this being so, 
considering the charge, and the evidence, and the accuser, 
and the accused, could we Catholics desire a more apposite 
illustration of the formation and the value of a Protestant 
Tradition ? 

I set it down for the benefit of time to come; " though 
for no other cause," as a great author says, "yet for this : 
that posterity may know we have not loosely, through 
silence, permitted things to pass away as in a dream, there 
shall be for men's information extant thus much." One 
commonly forgets such things, from the trouble and incon- 
venience of having to remember them ; let one specimen 
last, of many which have been suffered to perish, of the 
birth of an Anti-Catholic tradition. The nascent fable 


has indeed failed, as the tale about the Belgian sin-table, 
but it might have thriven : it has been lost by bad 
nursing : it ought to have been cherished awhile in those 
underground receptacles, where first it drew breath, till 
it could comfortably bear the light ; till its limbs were 
grown, and its voice was strong, and we on whom it bore 
had run our course, and gone to our account ; and then 
it might have raised its head without fear and without 
reproach, and might have magisterially asserted what 
there was none to deny. But men are all the creatures 
of circumstances ; they are hurried on to a ruin which 
they may see but cannot evade : so has it been with the 
Edgbaston Tradition. It was spoken on the house-tops 
when it should have been whispered in closets, and it 
expired in the effort. Yet it might have been allotted, 
let us never forget, a happier destiny. It might have 
smouldered and spread through a portion of our Birming- 
ham population ; it might have rested obscurely on their 
memories, and now and then risen upon their tongues : 
there might have been flitting notions, misgivings, ru- 
mours, voices, that the horrors of the Inquisition were 
from time to time renewed in our subterranean cham- 
bers : and fifty years hence, if some sudden frenzy of the 
hour roused the Anti-Catholic jealousy still lingering in 
the place, a mob might have swarmed about our innocent 
dwelling, to rescue certain legs of mutton and pats of 
butter from imprisonment, and to hold an inquest over a 
dozen packing-cases, some old hampers, a knife board, 
and a range of empty blacking bottles. 

Thus I close my third instance of the sort of evidence 
commonly adducible for the great Protestant Tradition; 
not the least significant circumstance about them all being 
this, that, though in the case of all three that evidence is 


disproved, yet in not one of the three is the charge founded 
on it withdrawn. In spite of Dr. Waddington, Dr. 
Maitland, and Mr. Rose, the editors of Mosheim still 
print and publish his slander on St. Eligius ; in defiance 
of the Brussels protest, and the chair tariff of St. Gudule, 
the Kent clergyman and the '' Times" still bravely main- 
tain our traffic in sins ; in violence to the common sense 
of mankind, the rack and the pulley are still affirmed to 
be busy in the dungeons of Edgbaston ; — for Protestant- 
ism is the religion of Englishmen, and part and parcel 
of the law of the land. 

And now, in conclusion, I will but state my conviction, 
which I am sure to have confirmed by every intelligent 
person who takes the trouble to examine the subject, that 
such slanders as I have instanced are the real foundation 
on which the Anti-Catholic feeling mainly rests in Eng- 
land, and without which it could not long be maintained. 
Doubtless there are arguments of a different calibre, 
whatever their worth, which weigh against Catholics 
with half-a-dozen members of a University, with the 
speculative church-restorer, with the dilettante divine, 
with the fastidious scholar, and with some others of a 
higher character of mind ; whether St. Justin Martyr 
said this or that ; whether images should be dressed in 
muslin, or hewed out of stone ; what criticism makes of 
a passage in the prophets, — questions such as these, and 
others of a more serious cast, may be conclusive for 
or against the Church in the study or in the lecture- 
room, but they have no influence with the many. As 
to those charges which do weigh with the people at 
large, the more they can be examined, the more, I am 
convinced, will they be found to be untrue. It is by 


wholesale, retail, systematic, unscrupulous lying, for I can 
use no gentler terms, that the many rivulets are made to 
flow for the feeding the great Protestant Tradition, — the 
Tradition of the Court, the Tradition of the Law, the Tra- 
dition of the Legislature, the Tradition of the Esta- 
blishment, the Tradition of Literature, the Tradition of 
Domestic Circles, the Tradition of the Populace. 



I CAN fancy, my Brothers, that some of you may have 
been startled at a statement I made at the close of my 
Lecture of Last Week. I then said, that the more 
fully the imputations which were cast upon us were 
examined, the more unfounded they would turn out to 
be ; so that the great Tradition on which we are per- 
secuted is little short of one vast pretence or fiction. 
On this you may be led to ask me whether I mean to 
deny all and every thing which can be advanced to the 
disadvantage of the Catholic Church, and whether I 
recommend you to do the same? but this was not my 
meaning. Some things which are alleged against us are 
doubtless true, and we see no harm in them, though 
Protestants do ; other things are true, yet, as we think, 
only go to form ingenious objections ; others again are 
true, and refer to what is really sinful and detestable, as 
we allow as fully as Protestants can urge : but all these 
real facts, whatever their worth, taken all together, do 



not go any way towards proving the Protestant Tra- 
ditionary View of us ; they are vague and unsatisfactory, 
and, to apply a common phrase, they beat about the 
bush. If you would have some direct downright proof 
that Catholicism is what Protestants make it to be, some- 
thing which will come up to the mark, you must lie ; 
else you will not get beyond feeble suspicions, which may 
be right, but may be wrong. Hence Protestants are 
obliged to cut their ninth commandment out of their 
Decalogue. " Thou shalt not bear false witness against 
thy neighbour "' must go, must disappear ; their position 
requires the sacrifice. The substance, the force, the 
edge of their Tradition is slander. As soon as ever they 
disabuse their minds of what is false, and grasp only 
what is true, — I do not say they at once become Catho- 
lics ; I do not say they lose their dislike to our religion, 
or their suspicion of its working ; — but I say this, either 
they become tolerant towards us, and cease to hate us 
personally, — or, at least, supposing they cannot shake off 
old associations, and are prejudiced and hostile as before, 
still they find they cannot communicate their own feel- 
ings to others. To Protestantism False W^itness is the 
principle of propagation. There are indeed able men 
who can make a striking case out of any thing or 
nothing, as great painters give a meaning and a unity to 
the commonest bush, and pond, and paling, and stile : 
genius can do without facts as well as create them ; but 
few possess the gift. Taking things as they are, and 
judging of them by the long run, one may securely say, 
that the Anti-Catholic Tradition could not be kept alive, 
would die of exhaustion, without a continual supply of 

I repeat, not every thing which is said to our dis- 


advantage is without foundation in fact ; but it is not 
the true that tells against us, but the false. The Tra- 
dition requires bold painting ; its prominent outline, its 
glaring colouring, needs to be a fraud. So was it at the 
time of the Reformation : the multitude would never 
have been converted by exact reasoning and facts which 
could be proved ; so its upholders were clever enough to 
call the Pope Antichrist, and they let the startling accu- 
sation sink into men's minds. Nothing else would have 
succeeded ; and they pursue the same tactique now. 
Nothing else, I say, would have gained for them the 
battle ; else, why should they have adopted it ? Few 
persons tell atrocious falsehoods for the sake of telling 
them. If truth had been sufficient to put down Catho- 
licism, the Reformers would not have had recourse to 
fiction. Errors indeed creep in by chance, whatever be 
the point of inquiry or dispute ; but I am not accusing 
Protestants merely of incidental or of attendant error, 
but I mean that falsehood is the very staple of the views 
which they have been taught to entertain of us. 

I allow, there are true charges which can be brought 
against us ; certainly, not only do I not deny it, but I 
hardly could deny it without heresy, I say distinctly, 
did I take upon me to deny every thing which could be 
said against us, I should be proving too much, I should 
startle the Catholic theologian as well as Protestants; 
for what would it be but implying, that the Church 
contains none within her pale but the just and holy ? 
This was the heresy of the Novatians and Donatists of 
old time ; it was the heresy of our Lollards, and others, 
such as Luther, who maintained that bad men are not 
members of the Church, that none but the predestinate 
are her members. But this no Catholic asserts, every 

M 2 


Catholic denies. Every Catholic has ever denied it, 
up to the very time of the Apostles and their Divine 
Master ; and He and they deny it ; Christ denies it, St. 
Paul denies it, the Catholic Church denies it. Our Lord 
expressly said that the Church was to be like a net, 
which gathered of every kind, not only of the good, but 
of the bad too. Such was His Church ; it does not 
prove then that we are not His Church, because we ai'e 
like His Church ; rather, our being like the Primitive 
Church, is a reason for concluding that we are one with 
it. We cannot make His Church better than He made 
her ; we must be content with her, as He made her, or 
not pretend to follow Him. He said, " Many are called, 
few are chosen ;" they come, but they fall away. They 
are not indeed sinning at the very time when they are 
brought into His family, at the time they are new born ; 
but, as children grow up, and converts live on, the time 
too frequently comes, when they fall under the power of 
one kind of temptation or other, and fall away, either 
for a while, or for good. Thus, not indeed by the divine 
wish and intention, but by the divine permission, and 
man's perverseness, there is a vast load of moral evil 
existing in the Church ; an enemy has sown weeds there, 
and those weeds remain among the wheat till the har- 
vest. And this evil in the Church is not found only in 
the laity, but among the clergy too ; there have been 
bad priests, bad bishops, bad monks, bad nuns, and bad 
Popes. If this then is the charge made against us, that 
we do not all live up to our calling, but that Catholics, 
lay and clerical, may, if so be, be proved worldly, re- 
vengeful, licentious, slothful, cruel, nay, may be unbe- 
lievers, we grant it at once. We not only grant it, but 
vve zealously maintain it. " In a great house," says St. 


Paul, " there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but 
also of wood and of earth ; and some indeed unto 
honour, but some unto dishonour." There are, alas, 
plenty of children of the Ohui'ch, who by their bad lives 
insult and disgrace their Mother. 

The Church, it is true, has been promised many gi"eat 
things, but she has not been promised the souls of all her 
children. She is promised truth in religious teaching, 
she is promised duration to the end of the world ; she is 
made the means of grace, she is unchangeable in Creed 
and in structure; she will ever cover the earth; — but 
her children are not infallible separately, any more than 
they are immortal ; not indefectible, any more than they 
are in many places at once. Therefore, if Protestants 
would form arguments which really would tell against 
us, they must show, not that individuals are immoral or 
profane, but that the Church teaches, or enjoins, or re- 
commends, what is immoral or profane ; rewards, en- 
courages, or at least does not warn and discountenance 
the sinner ; or promulgates rules, and enforces practices 
which directly lead to sin ; and this indeed they try to 
do, but they find the task not near so pleasant as the short 
and easy method of strong round thoroughgoing state- 
ments, which are not true. 

We do not then feel as a difficulty, on the contrary, 
we teach as a doctrine, that there are scandals in the 
Church. " It must needs be, that scandals come ; 
nevertheless, woe to that man by whom the scandal 
Cometh." There are, to all appearance, multitudes of 
Catholics who have passed out of the world unrepentant, 
and are lost ; there are multitudes living in sin, and out 
of grace ; priests may and do fall, in this or that 
country, at this or that time, though they are exceptions 


to the rule ; or there may be parties or knots of eccle- 
siastics, who take a low view of their duty, or adopt 
dangerous doctrines ; or they may be covetous, or un- 
feeling, as other men, and use their power tyrannically, 
or for selfish, secular ends. There may be a declension 
and deterioration of the priesthood of a whole country. 
There may be secret unbelievers, both among clergy and 
laity ; or those who are tending in their imaginations 
and their reasonings to grievous error or heresy. There 
may be great disorders in some particular monastery or 
nunnery ; or a love of ease and slothful habits ; and a 
mere formality in devotion, in particular orders of Reli- 
gious, at particular seasons. There may be self-indul- 
gence, pride, ambition, political profligacy in certain 
Bishops in particular states of society, as, for instance, 
when the Church has been long established and abounds 
in wealth. And there have been Popes before now, who 
to the letter have fulfilled the awful description of the 
unfaithful servant and steward, who began " to strike 
the men servants and maid servants, and to eat and 
drink and be drunk."' All this may be granted, but 
before the admission can avail as an argument against 
the Catholic Church, one thing has to be examined, 
whether on the whole her influence and her action is on 
the side of what is wrong, or rather (as is the case) 
simply powerful on the side of good ; one thing has to 
be proved, that the scandals within her pale have been 
caused by her principles, her teaching, her injunctions, 
or, which pretty nearly comes to the same thing, that 
they do not exist, and as grievously, (Catholics would say, 
they exist far more grievously) external to her. 

Now here is the flaw in the argument. For instance, 
it is plausibly objected that disorders not only sometimes 


do, but must, occur, where Priests are bound to celibacy. 
Even the candid Protestant will be apt to urge against 
us, " You must not argue from the case of the few, from 
persons of high principle and high education ; but taking 
the run of men, you must allow that the vow will not be 
kept by numbers of those who have got themselves to 
take it." Now, I will not reply, as I well might do, by 
pointing out the caution which the Church observes in 
the selection of her priests ; how it is her rule to train 
thera carefully for many years beforehand, with this one 
thought in view, that priests they are to be ; how she 
tries thera during their training ; how she takes one and 
rejects another, not with any reflection on those who are 
rejected, but simply because she finds they are not called 
to this particular state of life ; how, when she has 
selected a man, a hundred provisions and checks in de- 
tail are thrown around his person, which are to be his 
safeguard in his arduous calling ; lastly, how, when he is 
once called to his high ministry, he has, unless he be 
wonderfully wanting to himself, the power of divine grace 
abundantly poured upon him, without which all human 
means are useless, but which can do, and constantly does, 
miracles, as the experience, not of priest merely, but of 
every one who has been converted from a life of sin will 
abundantly testify : — I might enlarge on considerations 
such as these, but I put them aside, because I wish to 
address myself to the question of fact. 

When, then, we come to the matter of fact, whether 
celibacy has been and iV, in comparison of the mari-iage 
vow, so dangerous to a clerical body, I answer that I 
am very sceptical indeed that in matter of fact a married 
clergy is adorned, in any special and singular way, with 
the grace of purity ; and this is just the very thing 


which Protestants take for granted. What is the use 
of speaking against our discipline, till they have proved 
their own to be better ? Now I deny that they succeed 
with their rule of matrimony, better than we do with 
our rule of celibacy ; and I deny it on no private grounds, 
or secret means of information, or knowledge of past 
years. I have lived in one place all my days, and know 
very few married clergymen, and those of such excellence 
and consistency of life, that I should feel it to be as 
absurd to suspect them of any the slightest impropriety in 
their conduct, as to suspect the Catholic priests with whom 
I am well acquainted ; and this is saying a great deal. 
When T speak of a married ministry, I speak of it, not from 
any knowledge I possess, more than another ; but I must 
avow that the public prints and the conversation of the 
world, by many shocking instances, which of course are 
only specimens of many others, heavier or lighter, which 
do not come before the world, bring home to me the fact, 
that a Protestant rector or a dissenting preacher is not 
necessarily kept from the sins I am speaking of, because 
he happens to be married : and when he offends, whether 
in a grave way or less seriousU^ still in all cases he has 
by matrimony but exchanged a bad sin for a worse, and 
has become an adulterer instead of being a seducer. 
Matrimony only does this for him, that his purity is less 
protected and less suspected. I am very sceptical then 
of the perfect correctness of Protestant ministers, whe- 
ther in the Establishment or in Dissent. I repeat, I 
know perfectly well, that there are a great number of 
high-minded men among the Anglican clergy who would 
as lief think of murder, as of trespassing by the faintest 
act of indecorum upon the reverence which is due from 
them to others; nor am I denying, what, though of 


course I cannot deny it on any knowledge of mine, yet I 
wish to deny with all my heart, that the majority of 
Wesleyan and dissenting ministers lead lives beyond all 
reproach ; but still, allowing all this, the terrible in- 
stances of human frailty, of which one reads and hears 
in Protestant bodies, are quite enough to show that the 
married state is no sort of warrant for moral correctness, 
no preventive, whether of scandalous offences, or much 
less of minor forms of the same general sin. Purity is 
not a virtue which conies as a matter of course to the 
married any more than to the single, though of course 
there is great difference between man and man ; and 
though it is impossible to bring the matter fairly to an 
issue, yet for that very reason I have as much a right to 
my opinion as another to his, when I state my deliberate 
conviction that there are, to say the least, as many 
offences against the marriage vow among Protestant 
ministers, as there are against the vow of celibacy among 
Catholic Priests. I may go very much further than this 
in my own view of the matter, and think, as I do, that the 
Priest's vow is generally the occasion of virtues which a 
married clergy does not contemplate even in idea ; but I 
am on the defensive, and only insist on so much as is 
necessary for my purpose. 

But if matrimony does not prevent cases of immorality 
among Protestant ministers, it is not celibacy which 
causes them among Catholic Priests. It is not what 
the Catholic Church imposes, but what human nature 
prompts, which leads any portion of her ecclesiastics into 
sin. Human nature will break out, like some wild and 
raging element, under any system ; it bursts out under 
the Protestant system ; it bursts out under the Catholic ; 
passion will carry away the married clergyman as well as 


the unmarried Priest. On the other hand, there are 
numbers to whom there would be, not greater, but less, 
trial in the vow of celibacy, than in the vow of marriage \ 
Till, then, you can prove that celibacy causes what 
matrimony certainly does not prevent, you do nothing at 
all. This is the language of common sense. It is the 
world, the flesh, and the devil, not celibacy which is the 
ruin of those who fall. Slothful priests ! why, where was 
any religion whatever, established and endowed, in which 
Bishops, Canons, and wealthy rectors were not exposed 
to the temptation of pride and sensuality ? The wealth 
is in fault, not the rules of the Church. Preachers have 
denounced the evil and ecclesiastical authorities have 
repressed it, far more vigorously within the Catholic pale, 
than in the English Establishment, or the Wesleyan 
connexion. Covetous priests ! shame on them ! but has 
covetousness been more rife in Cardinals or Abbots, than 
in the Protestant Bench, English or Irish I Party spirit, 
and political faction ! has not party, religious and poli- 
tical, burnt as fiercely in High-church Hectors and 
radical preachers, as in Catholic ecclesiastics ? And so 
again, to take an extreme case, — be there infidels among 
the multitudes of the Catholic clergy : yet among the An- 
glican are there really none, are there few, who disbelieve 
their own Baptismal service, repudiate their own Abso- 
lution of the sick, and condemn the very form of words 
under which they themselves w ere ordained ? Again, are 
there not numbers who doubt about every part of their 
system, about their Church, its authority, its truth, its 
articles, its creeds ; deny its Protestantism, yet without 
being sure of its Catholicity, and therefore never dare 

1 As so many persons prefer Tetotalism to the Temperance prin- 


commit themselves to a plain assertion, as not knowing 
whither it will carry them ? Once more, are there not 
in the Establishment those, who hold that all systems of 
doctrine whatever are founded in a mistake, and who 
deny or are fast denying that there is any revealed truth 
in the world at all 2 Yet none of these parties, what- 
ever they doubt, or deny, or disbelieve, see their way 
to leave the position in which they find themselves at 
present, or to sacrifice their wealth or credit to their 
opinions. Why then do you throw in my teeth that 
Wolsey was proud, or Ximenes cruel, or Bonner trim- 
ming, or this Abbot sensual, or that convent in disorder ; 
that this priest should never have been a priest, and that 
nun was forced into religion by her father, as if there 
were none of these evils in Protestant England, as if 
there were no pride in the House of Lords now, no 
time-serving in the House of Commons, no servility in 
fashionable preachers, no selfishness in the old, no pro- 
fligacy in the young, no tyranny or cajolery in match- 
making, no cruelty in Union workhouses, no immorality 
in factories ? If grievous sin is found in holy places, the 
Church cannot hinder it, while man is man : prove that 
she encourages it, prove that she does not repress it, 
prove that her action, be it greater or less, is not, as far 
as it goes, beneficial ; — then and not till then will you 
have established a point against her. 

For myself, my Brothers of the Oratory, I never 
should have been surprised, if in the course of the last 
nine months of persecution, some scandal in this or that 
part of our English Church, had been brought to fight 
and circulated through the country to our great pre- 
judice. Not that I speak from any knowledge or sus- 
picion of ray own, but merely judging antecedently and 


on the chance of things. And, had such a case in fact 
been producible, it would, in the judgment of dispas- 
sionate minds, have gone for nothing at all, unless there 
is to be no covetous Judas, no heretical Nicolas, no 
ambitious Diotrephes, no world-loving Demas in the 
Church of these latter days. Fraud in a priest, disorder 
in a convent, would have proved just as much and just as 
little against Catholicism, as corruption in Parliament, 
peculation in the public offices, or bribery at elections 
tells against the British Constitution. Providentially no 
such calamity has occurred ; but oh, what would not our 
enemies have paid for only one real and live sin in holy 
places to mock us withal ! Oh, light to the eyes and joy 
to the heart, and music to the ear ! Oh, sweet tidings 
to writers of pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines ; to 
preachers and declaimers, who have now a weary while 
been longing, and panting, and praying for some good 
fat scandal, one, only just one, well-supported instance 
of tyranny, or barbarity, or fraud, or immorality, to 
batten upon and revel in ! What price would have 
been too much for so dear a fact, as that one of our 
Bishops or one of our religious houses had been guilty of 
some covetous aim, or some unworthy manoeuvre ! Their 
fierce and unblushing effort to fix such charges where 
they were impossible, shows how many eyes were fas- 
tened on us all over the country, and how deep and 
fervent was the aspiration that at least some among us 
might turn out to be a brute or a villain. To and fro 
the Spirit of false witness sped. She dropped upon the 
floor of the Parliament House in the form of a gentle- 
man of Warkwickshire, and told how a nun had escaped 
thereabouts from a convent window, which in conse- 
quence had ever since been crossed with iron bars : but it 


turned out that the window had been attempted by 
thieves, and the bars had been put up to protect the 
Blessed Sacrament from them. Then she flitted to 
Nottingham, and in the guise of a town newspaper's 
correspondent, repeated the tale with the concordant 
witness, as she gave out, of a whole neighbourhood, who 
had seen the poor captive atop of the wall, and then 
wandering about the fields like a mad thing : but the 
Editor in London discovered the untruth, and unsaid in 
his own paper the slander he had incautiously admitted. 
Next she forced her way into a Nunnery near London, 
and she assured the Protestant world that then and 
there an infant had suddenly appeared among the sister- 
hood ; but the two newspapers who were the organs of 
her malice, had to retract the calumny in open court, 
and to ask pardon to escape a prosecution. 

Tales, I say, such as these showed the animus of the 
fabricators : but what, after all, would they have really 
gained, had their imputations been ever so true ? Though 
one bad priest be found here or there, or one convent be 
in disorder, or there be this or that abuse of spiritual 
power, or a school of ecclesiastics give birth to a heresy, 
or a diocese be neglected, nay, though a whole hierarchy 
be in declension or decay, this would not suffice for the 
argument of Protestantism. And Protestantism itself 
plainly confesses it. Yes, the Protestant tradition must 
be fed with facts more wholesale, more stimulating, 
than any I have enumerated, if it is to keep its hold 
on the multitude. Isolated instances of crime, or wide- 
spread tepidity, or imperfections in administration, or 
antiquated legislation, such imputations are but milk- 
and-water ingredients in a theme so thriilinff as that of 


Holy Church being a sorceress and the child of per- 
dition. Facts that are possible, and that sometimes 
occur, do but irritate, by suggesting suspicions which 
they are not sufficient to substantiate. Falsehood, that 
is decent and respectable, is unequal to the occasion. 
Mosheim and Robertson, Jortin and White, raise hopes 
to disappoint them. The popular demand is for the 
prodigious, the enormous, the abominable, the diabolical, 
the impossible. It must be shown that all priests are 
monsters of hypocrisy, that all nunneries are dens of 
infamy, that all Bishops are the embodied plenitude of 
savageness and perfidy. We must have a cornucopia of 
mummery, blasphemy, and licentiousness ; of knives, and 
ropes, and faggots, and fetters, and pulleys, and racks, if 
the great Protestant Tradition is to be kept alive in the 
hearts of the population. The great point in view is to 
burn into their imagination, by a keen and peremptory 
process, a sentiment of undying hostility to Catholicism ; 
and nothing will suffice for this enterprise but imposture, 
in its purest derivation, from him whom Scripture em- 
phatically calls the father of lies, and whose ordinary 
names, when translated, are the accuser and the slanderer. 
This I shall prove as well as assert ; and I shall do so 
in the following way. You know, my Brothers of the 
Oratory, that from time to time persons come before the 
Protestant public, with pretensions of all others the most 
favourable for proving its charges against us, as having 
once belonged to our Communion, and having left it from 
conviction. If these Protestants would know what the 
persons really are like whom they are reprobating, if 
they would determine our internal state, and build their 
argument on a true foundation, and accommodate their 


judgment of us to facts, here is the best of opportunities 
for their purpose. The single point to ascertain is the 
trustworthiness of the informants : that being attained, 
the testimony they give is definitive ; but if it is dis- 
proved, the evidence is worthless. 

Now I am going to mention to you the names of two 
persons, utterly unlike each other in all things except in 
their both coming forward as converts from CathoHcism ; 
both putting on paper their personal experience of the 
religion they had left ; both addressing themselves espe- 
cially to the exposure of the rule of celibacy, whether in 
the priesthood or in convents ; and moreover, both on 
their first appearance having met with great encourage- 
ment from Protestants, and obtained an extensive pa- 
tronage for the statements they respectively put forward. 
One was a man, the other a woman ; the one a gentleman, 
a person of very superior education and great abilities, 
who lived among us, and might be interrogated and 
cross-examined at any time : the woman, on the other 
hand, had no education, no character, no principle, and, 
as the event made manifest, deserved no credit whatever. 
Whatever the one said was true, as often as he spoke to 
facts he had witnessed, and was not putting out opinions 
or generalizing on evidence ; whatever the other said 
was, or was likely to be, false. Thus the two were con- 
trasted : yet the truth spoken against us by the man of 
character is forgotten, and the falsehood spoken against 
us by the unworthy woman, lives. If this can be shown, 
do you need a clearer proof, that falsehood, not truth, is 
the essence of the Protestant Tradition I 

The Rev. Joseph Blanco ^Vhite, who is one of the two 
persons I speak of, was a man of great talent, various 


erudition, and many most attractive points of chai'acter. 
Twenty-five years ago, when he was about my present 
age, I became acquainted with him at Oxford, and I 
lived for some years on terms of familiarity with him. I 
admired him for the simpHcity and openness of his cha- 
racter, the warmth of his affections, the range of his 
information, his power of conversation, and an intellect 
refined, elegant, and accomplished. I loved him from 
witnessing the constant sufferings, bodily and mental, of 
which he was the prey, and for his expatriation on ac- 
count of his religion. At that time, not having the 
slightest doubt that Catholicism was an error, I found in 
his relinquishment of great ecclesiastical preferment in 
his native country for the sake of principle, a claim on 
my admiration and sympathy. He was certainly most 
bitter-minded and prejudiced against every thing in and 
connected with the Catholic Church ; it was nearly the 
only subject on which he could not brook opposition : 
but this did not interfere with the confidence I placed in 
his honour and truth ; for, though he might give ex- 
pression to a host of opinions in which it was impossible 
to acquiesce, and was most precipitate and unfair in his 
inferences and inductions, and might be credulous of 
facts on the authority of others, yet, as to his personal 
testimony, viewed as distinct from his judgments and sus- 
picions, it never for an instant came into my mind to 
doubt it. He had become an infidel before he left Spain. 
While at Oxford he was a believer in Christianity : after 
leaving it he fell into infidelity again ; and he died, I may 
say, without any fixed belief at all, either in a God or in 
the soul's immortality. 

About the period of my acquaintance with him, he 


wrote various works against the Catholic Church, which 
m a great measure are repetitions of each other, throw- 
ing the same mass of testimonies, such as they are, into 
different shapes, according to tlie occasion. And since 
his death, many years after, his Life has been pubhshed, 
repeating what is substantially the same evidence. 
Among these publications one was written for the lower 
classes ; it was entitled, " The Poor Man''s Preservative 
against Popery ;" and, if I mistake not, was put upon 
the Catalogue of Books and Tracts of the great Church 
of England Society, the Society for Promoting Chris- 
tian Knowledge. No work could be sent into the world 
with greater advantages ; published under the patronage 
of all the dignitaries of the Establishment, put into the 
hands of the whole body of the Clergy for distribution, 
at a low price, written in an animated style, addressed 
to the traditionary hatred of the Catholic Church exist- 
ing among us, which is an introduction to any book, 
whatever its intrinsic value ; and laden with a freight of 
accusations against her, which, as far as their matter 
was concerned, and the writer's testimony extended, 
were true as well as grave. 

When I began collecting materials for this Lecture, 
not being able to lay my hand upon the publication at 
home, I sent for a copy to the Christian Knowledge 
depot in this town, and, to my surprise, I was told it was 
no longer in print. I repeated the application to the 
Society's office in London, and received the same reply. 
Now certainly there are reasons why a Society connected 
with the National Church should wish to withdraw the 
work of a writer, who ended, not only with hating the 
Papacy, but with despising the Establishment ; yet, 
considering his facts were so trustworthy, and his evi- 



dence so important, the Society hardly would have with- 
drawn it, if there had been any good reason for con- 
tinuing it in print. Such a reason certainly would have 
been its popularity ; I cannot conceive how persons, with 
the strong feelings against the Catholic religion enter- 
tained by the members of that Society, having given 
their solemn approbation, not only to the principle of/ a 
certain attack upon it, but to the attack itself; and 
being confident that the facts related are true, could 
allow themselves in conscience to withdraw it, on account 
of subsequent religious changes in the writer, supposing 
it actually to enjoy a sufficient popularity, and to be 
doing good service against Catholicism ; and therefore I 
conclude, since it teas withdrawn, that, in spite of the 
forced circulation which the Society gave it, it had not 
made any great impression on the mass of men, or even 
interested the Established Clergy in its favour. But 
any how, it never was known, in matter of fact, as far as 
I can make out, to the population at large, for instance, 
to the masses of a town such as this, whatever considera- 
tion it may have enjoyed in the circles of the Establish- 
ment. Here then is a solemn testimony delivered against 
Catholics, of which the basis of facts is true, which never- 
theless has no popularity to show, is sustained at first by 
a forced sale, and then is abandoned by , its very patrons : 
and now let us consider the character of the facts of 
which it consists. 

They are such as the writer himself was very far from 
thinking a light imputation on the Church he had aban- 
doned. He considered he had inflicted on Catholicism a 
most formidable blow, in giving his simple evidence 
against it ; and it must be allowed that some of his facts 
are of a very grave nature. He was the partner and the 


witness of a most melancholy phenomenon. About a 
iiundred and fifty years ago a school of infidelity arose in 
Protestant England ; the infamous Voltaire came over 
here from France, and on his return took back with him 
its arguments, and propagated them among his own 
countrymen. The evil spread ; at length it attacked the 
French Cathohc Clergy, and during the last century 
there was a portion of them, I do not say a large por- 
tion, but an influential, who fraternised with the infidel, 
still holding their places and preferments in the Church. 
At the end of the century, about the time of the first 
sanguinary French Revolution, the pestilence spread into 
Spain ; a knot of the Spanish Clergy became infidels, 
and, as a consequence, abandoned themselves to a licen- 
tious life. Blanco White was one of these, and, amid 
the political troubles in his country during the first years 
of this century, he managed to escape to England, where 
he died in the year 1841. 

Now there was one circumstance which gave a par- 
ticularly shocking character to the infidelity of these 
Spanish ecclesiastics, while it made it more intense. 
In France the infidel party was not afraid to profess 
itself infidel ; and such members of the clerical body as 
wei'e abandoned enough to join it, did so openly ; fre- 
quented its brilliant meetings, and lived shamelessly, like 
men of fashion and votaries of sin. It was otherwise in 
Spain ; the people would not have borne this ; public 
opinion was all on the side of the Catholic religion ; such 
as doubted or disbelieved were obliged to keep it to 
themselves, and thus, if they were ecclesiastics, to become 
the most awful of hypocrites. There can be hypocrites 
in the Church, as there may be hypocrites in any reli- 
gion ; but here you see what a hypocrite is in the Catho- 

N 2 


lic Church, as seen in fact ; not a person who takes up a 
religious profession, in order to gratify some bad end, 
but, for the most part, one who has learned to disbelieve 
what he professes, after he has begun to profess it^ 
However, such a person is, on any explanation, an object 
of horror; and in Spain it was increased by the im- 
patience, irritation, and fever of mind, which the con- 
straint they lay under occasioned to these unhappy men. 
Their feelings, shut up within their breasts, became fierce 
and sullen ; oppressed by the weight of the popular sen- 
timent, they turned round in revenge upon its object, 
and they hated Catholicism the more, because their 
countrymen were Catholics ^ They became a sort of 
secret society, spoke to each other only in seci'et places, 
held intercourse by signs, and plunged into licentious- 
ness, even as a relief to the miserable conflicts which 
raged within them. 

Earth could not show, imagination could not picture, 
Satan could not create, a more horrible spectacle. You 
will say, how was it possible ? how could men, who had, 
I will not merely say, given themselves to God, but who 
had tasted the joys and the rewards of such devotion, 
how could they have the heart thus to change I Why, 
the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes, men who 
have sold themselves to the world, and have gained their 
full price from it, even they look back with tears to 

* E.g. Mr. Blanco White says of one of the Spanish Ecclesiastics 
whcm he introduces, " He was . . . one of those, who, having originally 
taken tlieir posts in the foremost ranks of asceticism, tcUh the most sincere 
desire of improvenient for himself and others, are afterwards involved in 
guilt by strong temptation, and reduced to secret moral degradation, hy 
want of courage to throw off the mask of sanctity." Life, vol. i. p. 121. 

' I think I have heard him say that he had lost the knowledge of the 
Spanish tongue, not having the heart to keep it up. 


those days of innocence and peace, which once were 
theirs, and which are irrecoverably gone. Napoleon said 
that the day of his first communion was the happiest 
day of his Hfe. Sucli men actually part company with 
the very presence of religion, go forward -their own way, 
and leave it in the distance. Their regret is directed to 
what, not merely is past, but is away. But these priests 
were in the very bosom of the Church ; they served her 
altars, they were in the centre of her blessings ; how 
could they forget Jerusalem who dwelt within her 1 how 
could they be so thankless towards her sweetness and 
her brightness, and so cruel towards themselves? how 
could one who had realized that the Strong and Mighty, 
and the Gracious, was present on the Altar, who had 
worshipped there that Saviour''s tender Heart, and re- 
joiced in the assurance of His love, how could he go on 
year after year (horrible !), performing the same rites, 
holding his Lord in his hands, dispensing Him to His 
people, yet thinking it all an idle empty show, a vain 
superstition, a detestable idolatry, a blasphemous fraud, 
and cursing the while the necessity which compelled his 
taking part in it ? Why, in the case of one, who ever 
had known the power of religion, it is incomprehensible ; 
but, as regards the melancholy instance we are contem- 
plating, it woidd really seem, if you may take his own 
recollection of his early self in evidence of the fact, that 
he never had discovered what rehgion was. Most chil- 
dren are open to religious feelings. Catholic children of 
course more than others ; some, indeed, might complain, 
that, as they advance to boyhood, religion becomes irk- 
some and wearisome to them, but I doubt whether this 
is true of Catholic youth, till they begin to sin. True, 
alas, it is, that the nearer and more urgent excitement 


of guilty thoughts, does render the satisfactions and con- 
solations of Paradise insipid and uninviting; but even 
then their reason tells them that the fault is with 
themselves, not with religion ; and that after all heaven 
is not only better, but pleasanter, sweeter, more glorious, 
more satisfying than any thing on earth. Yet, from some 
strange, mysterious cause, this common law was not ful- 
filled in this hapless Spanish boy ; he never found comfort 
in religion, not in childhood, more than in manhood, or 
in old age. In his very first years, as in his last, it was a 
yoke and nothing more ; a task without a recompense. 

Thus he tells us, he " entertains a most painful recol- 
lection"" of the " perpetual round of devotional practices" 
in which he was compelled to live. He " absolutely 
dreaded the approach of Sunday. Early on the morning 
of that formidable day, when he was only eight years old, 
he was made to go with his father to the Dominican con- 
vent *," always for mass, and every other week for confes- 
sion. He did not get his breakfast for two hours, then 
he had to stand or kneel in the Cathedral, I suppose at 
High Mass, for two hours longer. Well, the second two 
hours probably was, as he says, a considerable trial for 
him. Again, from three to five he was in another church, 
I suppose for Vespers and Benediction. Then his father 
and he took a walk, and in the evening his father visited 
the sick in a hospital, and took his son with him. Per- 
haps his father's treatment of him, if we are to trust his 
recollection and impression of it, might be injudicious ; 
he was lively, curious, and clever, and his father, who 
was a truly good, pious man, probably did not recollect 
that the habits of the old are not suitable in all respects to 
children. Mr. Blanco White complains^ moreover, that he 

* P. 11. 


had no companions to play with, and no books to read ; 
still, it is very strange indeed, that he never took pleasure 
in Mass and Benediction ; he calls his Sunday employ- 
ments a " cruel discipline * ;" he describes his hearing 
Mass as "looking on while the priest went through it®;" 
speaking of a season of recreation granted to him, he 
mentions his religious duties as the drawbacks " on the 
accession of daily pleasures " he had obtained. However, 
" mass, though a nuisance, was over in half an hour ; 
confession, a more serious annoyance, was only a weekly 
task '' ;" and, as if to prove, what I observed above, that 
no sinful excitement had at this time thrown religion 
into the shade, he adds, " my life was too happy in inno- 
cent amusement, to be exposed to any thing that might 
be the subject of painful accusation." No : it was some 
radical defect of mind. In like manner, saying office was 
to him never any thing else than a " most burdensome 
practice ^"" " Another devotional task, scarcely less 
burdensome," was, what, my Brothers, do you think? 
" Mental Prayer," or " Meditation ;" of which he gives 
a detailed and true description. He adds, " soon after I 
was ordained a priest. ... I myself was several times 
the leader of this mystical farce '." In his boyhood and 
youth he had to read half an hour and to meditate on 
his knees another half; this, for such a boy, might be 
excessive ; but hear how he comments upon it : "To feel 
indignant, at this distance of time, may be absurd ; but 
it is with difficulty that I can check myself when I re- 
member what I have suffered in the cause of religion. 
Alas ! ray sufferings from that source are still more bitter 
in my old age*." 

* P. 12. f- P. 26. ' P. 32. 8 P. 27. P. 29. 

' p. 29. He goes on to say that he prefers to the vague word 


That a person, then, who never knew what Catholicism 
had to give, should abandon it, does not seem very sur- 
prising ; the only wonder is how he ever came to be a 
priest . If we take his own account of himself, it is 
evident he had no vocation at all ; he explains the matter, 
however, very simply, as far as his own share in it is con- 
cerned, by telling us, that he chose the ecclesiastical state 
in order to avoid what he felt to be more irksome, a 
counting-house. " I had proposed to be sent to the 
navy, because at that time the Spanish midshipmen re- 
ceived a scientific education. I could not indeed endure 
the idea of being doomed to a life of ignorance. This 
was easily perceived and (probably with the approbation 
of the divines consulted on this subject) no alternative 
was left me. I was told I must return to the odious 
counting-house, from which I had taken refuge in the 
Church. I yielded, and in yielding, mistook the happi- 
ness of drying up my mother's tears, for a reviving taste 
for the clerical profession ^." 

No wonder, under such circumstances, that Mr. Blanco 
White became an unbeliever ; no wonder that his friends 
and associates became unbelievers too, if their history 
resembled his. It was the case of active, inquisitive 
minds, unfurnished with that clear view of divine things 
which divine grace imparts, and prayer obtains. The 
only question which concerns us here is. Were there many 
such ecclesiastics in the Spanish Church ? If so, it cer- 
tainly is a very grave fact ; if not so, it is most melancholy 
certainly, but not an argument, as I can see, against Catho- 
licism, for there are bad men in every place and every 

"religion," the use of "true Christianity," but this he gave up at 

» P. 62. 


system. Now it is just liere that his testimony fails ; 
there is nothing that I can find in his works to prove that 
the dreadful disease which he describes had spread even so 
widely as in France. In the first place, he only witnesses 
of a small part of Spain. He seems to have only been in 
three Spanish cities in his life : Seville, Madrid, and 
Cadiz ^ ; and of these, while Seville is the only one of 
which he had a right to speak, the metropolis and a sea- 
port are just two of the places, where, if there was laxity, 
you would expect it to be found. Again, Spain is not, 
like England, the seat of one people, an open country, 
with easy communication from sea to sea. On the con- 
trary, you have populations so different, that you may call 
them foreign to each other, separated, moreover, not only 
morally, but by the mountain barriers which intersect the 
country in every direction : one part does not know 
another, one part is not like another, and therefore Mr. 
Blanco White's evidence is only good as far as it extends; 
you cannot argue the state of the northern dioceses from 
a southern ; of Valentia, by what you are told of Seville. 
Inspect then his narrative itself, and see what it results 
in. It amounts to this — that in the first years of this 
century, there were a few priests at Seville who had 
studied Jansenistic theology, and largely imported French 
philosophy, and that they ended in becoming infidels, and 
some of them unblushing hypocrites. I cannot find 
mention of any except at Seville, and how many there ? 
You may count them. First, " I became acquainted 
with a member of the upper clergy, a man of great read- 
ing, and secretly a most decided disbeliever in all religion." 
Secondly, " Through him I was introduced to another 

' He ran down to Salamanca from Madrid, apparently for a day or 


dignitary, a man much older than either of us, who had 
for many years held an office of great influence in the 
diocese, but who now lived in a very retired way. He 
was also a violent Antichristian, as I subsequently found *." 
Thirdly, an intimate friend of his own, who was promoted 
from Seville to a canonry of Cordova, and who had been 
chaplain to the Archbishop of Seville \ Fourthly, him- 
self. I am not able to number more, as given on his 
own personal knowledge**, though, rightly or wrongly, 
he thought many others existed ' ; but this is ever the 
case with men who do wrong ; they quiet the voice 
within them by the imagination that all others are 

^ P. 114. 

* P. 17. I consider this to be the person mentioned in the " Evi- 
dences," p. 132, whom accordingly I have not set down as a separate 

8 On his visit to Salamanca, he saw Melendez, a Deist (p. 128), who 
had been one of the judges of the Supreme Court at Madrid ; a poet, 
too ; whether an ecclesiastic does not appear. 

^ Life, p. 117. " Many other members of the clergy." If he had 
definite knowledge of others, or more than suspicion, I cannot understand 
his not giving us the numbers, or the rank, or the dioceses, in short, 
something categorical, instead of an indirect allusion. The question then 
simply is, what his suspicions are worth. " Among my numerous ac- 
quaintance in the Spanish clergy, I have never met with any one, pos- 
sessed of bold talents, who has not, sooner or later, changed from the most 
sincere piety to a state of unbelief." Doblado's Letters, v. I observe, 
1. He had experience only of one diocese. 2. He evidently does not 
speak of what he knew, when he says, " who has not, sooner or later." 
3. Observe, " possessed of bold talents." In like manner, he would, I 
think, have said, that when he was at Oxford, every one of bold talents 
agreed with Archbishop Whately, then resident in the University ; but 
every one knows how small that number was. I do not notice a passage 
in the " Poor Man's Pi'eservative," (Dial. i. pp. 32, 33,) for he is speaking 
of laity, and what he says of the clergy is very vague. After all, though 
I have a right to ask for proof, it is not necessary for my argununt to 
deny, that the infidel part might have been as large in Spain as in France. 


pretty much what they are themselves. I do not trust 
his inferences. 

And so again, as he fell into immoral practices himself, 
so did he impute the same to the mass of the Spanish 
clergy, whom he considered as " falling and rising, strug- 
gling and falling again*," in a continual course ; but here 
too he could not speak of many on his personal knowledge. 
It was not to be supposed that a priest, who was both dis- 
believing what he professed, and was breaking what he 
had vowed, should possess friends very different from him- 
self. He formed the eighth of a group of ecclesiastics, 
whom he much admired : one of these, as we have seen, 
was an infidel ; but apparently only one ; none of them 
however were blameless in their moral conduct. Besides 
these friends of his, he mentions a Priest of a religious 
Congregation, who had been his own Confessor, in which 
" capacity he had no fault to find with him, nor could he 
discover the least indication of his not acting up to the 
principles he professed',"" who however, as he was told by 

^ Evid. p. 132. Again, he says, " hundreds might be found" who live 
^' a life of settled systematic vice." p. 135. How very vague is " hun- 
dreds !" and "hundreds" out of 60,000 seculars, and 125,000 ecclesi- 
astics in all, as I shall mention in the text. Ibid. p. 133. He speaks 
vaguely of the " crowd" of priests ; and he says the best of them, and 
he knew the best from confession, " mingled vice and superstition, 
grossness of feeling and pride of office, In their character." I suspect 
that coarseness with him was one great evidence of vice ; he despised 
uneducated persons. " I am surprised," he says of Tavora, Bishop of 
the Canary Islands (p. 129), " that a man of his taste and information 
accepted the Bishopric of a semi-barbarous portion of the Spanish domi- 
nions :" though he attributes it " to his desire of improving the moral 
and intellectual state of those islands." 

" This conscientiousness in his duty is remarkable in this priest, even 
if his account of him is to be believed (for it stands on different grounds 
from those cases which he knew). Of himself, too, he says, his resolution 


a young atheist merchant who knew the Priesfs " secret 
courses" well, and, "as he had afterwards sufficient ground 
to be convinced," if such a vague statement is a sufficient 
testimony to the fact, " sinned and did penance by rota- 
tion ^^ Another too is mentioned laden with similar 
guilt, with whom he had been intimate, but whom he de- 
scribes as deficient in mere natural principle ; this man 
got involved in money matters and died of vexation*. 

Ten, or, if it were, twenty bad ecclesiastics form a most 
melancholy catalogue certainly ; Mr. Blanco White says, 
" hundreds might be found," though not on his personal 
knowledge ; but then you must recollect first, that it was a 
time apparently of great religious declension, when Spain 
had imitated France, and a judgment was on the point of 

was to do his duty to Ins charge, though an unbeliever. " I will not put 
myself forward in the Church. I will not affect zeal : whatever trust is 
put in me, as a confessor, I will conscientiously prove myself worthy of. 
I will urge people to observe every moral duty. I will give thera the 
best advice in their difficulties, and comfort them in their .distress. Such 
were the resolutions I made, and which, indeed, I always (sic) kept, in 
regard to the confidence reposed in my priestly office. In that respect, 
I may positively and confidently assert, that I never availed myself of 
the privileges of my priesthood for any thing immoral." Life, vol. i. 
p. 112. I think my memory cannot play me false in saying, that, in 
answer to a question once put to him, he declared emphatically, that the 
bad priests never made use of the confessional for immoral purposes : 
he said, " They daren't. It would raise the people." Moreover, as time 
went on, he himself withdrew altogether from clerical duty. He speaks of 
another of the party, who having "for many years held an office of great 
influence in the diocese, now lived in a Tery retired way." p. 114. 

1 Life, p. 121. 

2 Life, p. 104. He speaks (Evidences, p. 135) of two priests who 
died of love. " Love, long resisted, seized them, at length, like madness. 
Two I knew who died insane." Even granting it, I suppose it was love 
of particular objects. May not Protestants fall in love with persons who 
will not have them, or are married ? Dying for love is certainly an idea 
quite known in England, still more so perhaps in the South. 


coming down upon the country. The Jesuits, the flower 
of the priesthood, whom, as he says himself, " their bit- 
terest enemies have never ventured to charge with moral 
irregularities," had been barbarously expelled by the 
government. The Congregation of St. Philip Neri took 
their place, but though they did a great deal, had not 
strength, single-handed, to resist the flood of corruption. 
Moreover, you must consider the number of clergy in a 
given place or neighbourhood, before you form a judgment 
upon their state as a whole. The whole number of clergy 
of Spain at this time amounted to 1 25,000 persons : of these 
the seculars were as many as 60,000. In the Cathedral of 
Seville alone 500 masses were said daily ; and the city was 
divided into twenty-six parishes, and contained besides, be- 
tween forty and fifty ecclesiastical establishments in ad- 
dition to the monasteries'. The real question simply is, 
whether the proportion of bad priests at that time in the 
city and arch-diocese, was greater than the proportion of 
bad married clergy in England in the reign, we will say, 
of George the Second. It is to be remembered too that 
Catholic priests know each other far more intimately than 
is possible in the case of a married clergy; in a large city 
bad priests herd together : married clergymen in respect- 
able station, sin each by himself, and no one of them 
can turn kingVevidence against the rest. 

This being Mr. Blanco White''s evidence about the 
secular priests, about monks and friars he frankly tells us 
he knows next to nothing, though he thinks them "gross 
and vulgar." But here, as in the case of the secular clergy, 
he suspects and believes much evil, which he does not 
know, and which those only will receive who have implicit 
reliance on his judgment. As to nuns, he speaks of those 

* Laborde, vol. ii. 


of them whom he knew, as foi" the most part ladies of high 
character and unimpeachable purity* ; though some were 
otherwise, at least to some extent. He seems to allow tliat 
reluctant nuns were comparatively few ; though he says 

* He has a most intense notion that they are " prisoners ;" but that 
does not hinder his admitting that they are vMling px'isoners. He thinks 
the majority live in " a dull monotony." Life, p. 67. It is not wonderful 
that he should take tlie formal Parliamentary view of nuns, considering 
that from his youth, as I have said, he, tliough a Catholic, had appa- 
rently as little sense of the Real Presence {the true and sufficient Paraclete 
of a Nunnery) as the House of Commons. The following expressions 
sketch his idea of a nunnery ; let it be observed, vice (except as an acci- 
dent) is absent : — " The minute and anxious narrative of a nertous 
recluse." p. 66. " A sensible wotnan confined for life." Ibid. " A soul 
troubled with all the fears of a morbid conscience." p. 67. " The 
word Nunnei-y is a byword for weakness of intellect, fretfulness, childish- 
ness. In short, nun is the superlative of old woman." p. 69. " Some of 
them were women of superior good sense, and models of that fortitude 
which," &c. Ibid. " One of those e.vcellent persons." Ibid. The greater 
part of the nuns whom I have 'k\\ovir\,yiere beings of a much higher de- 
scription, females whose purity owed nothing to the strong gates and high 
walls of the cloister." Evid. p. 135. " Some there are, I confess, among 
the nuns, who never seem to long for freedom ; but the happiness boasted 
of in convents is generally the effect of an honourable pride of purpose, 
supported by a sense of utter hopelessness." Ibid. p. 136. " Suppose but 
one nun in ten thousand wished vehemently for that liberty." p. 137. 
" The reluctant nuns, you say, are fete ; — vain, unfeeling sophistry." p. 139. 
" The tnost sensitive, innocent, and ardent minds." Ibid. p. 141. " Crime 
makes its way into," (observe, not, is congenial to) •' those i-ecesses." Ibid, 
p. 135. " It is a notorious fact, that the nunneries in Estremadura and Por- 
tugal" (not, that is, in Seville and Andalusia) " &re frequently infected with 
vice of the grossest kind." Ibid. p. 135. " Souls more polluted than those of 
some never fell within my observation, &c." Life, vol. i. p. 70. Observe, 
" souls," to which he limits the sin, and which he puts in italics, and 
*' some." When it comes to the soul, the evidence is very vague ; and 
this, out of 500, in Seville alone ! Such, on the whole, is his evidence 
against convents : how little of fact, how much of suspicion, contempt, 
and hatred ! how much, again, of involuntary admission in favour of 
their religious condition ! 


that many were tormented by scru])les, and all would 
have been much happier had they married. But this is 
his opinion, as distinct from his testimony ; and in like 
manner he has other strong opinions on the miseries in- 
flicted on men and women by celibacy^ ; but 1 have no 
reliance on his judgment, nor had any one, I think, who 
knew him; he had so much prejudice, and so little patience; 
while I have the fullest confidence in his word, when he 
witnesses to facts, and facts which he knew. 

Such is this remarkable evidence, remarkable in the 
witness, and in the things witnessed, remarkable as coming 
from a person, who had special means of knowing a Ca- 
tholic country, and whose honour you may depend upon ; 
unlike such men as Ciocci and Achilh, and others, who also 
have left the Church and borne witness against her, whom 
no sensible man credits. Here is a man you can trust ; and 
you see how little he has to say to the purpose of Protest- 
antism after all. He makes the most indeed of his little, 
but he gives us the means of judging for ourselves. Here 
is no conspiracy of evil, no deep-laid treachery, no dis- 
guised agents prowling about, no horrible oaths, no secret 
passages, trapdoors, dungeons, axes, racks, and thumb- 
screws ; no blood and fire, no sci'eams of despair, no wail- 
ing of children, no spectres born of feverish guilt and 
flitting before the mental eye. Here is little more than what 
happens every day in England ; for I suppose that here in 

* The simple question is, whether more nuns are eaten up with scru- 
ples — itiore are restless and discontented — inore are old women or old 
maids — more sin grossly, than unmarried women in a Protestant country. 
Here, as before, I am taking the worst side of things ; and nothing of 
all this, be it observed, disproves, (1) the religiousness of the great ma- 
jority ; (2) the angelic saintliness of many ; (3) the excellence and utility 
of the institution itself, after all drawbacks ; which are the points a 
Catholic maintains. 


England there are secret unbelievers, and men who are 
fair and smooth, but inwardly corrupt, and many a single 
female wasted by weariness and sadness, and many a mar- 
ried woman cursing the day she ever took her vow ; for 
these things must be, though they ought not to be, while 
the nature of man is the same. And moreover, as I have 
said, the popular voice seems to bear me out in the view 
I am taking, for this testimony, given under such favour- 
able circumstances against the Church, has been let drop 
out of print ; for it was after all tame ; it did not do its 
work ; it did not go far enough ; it was not equal to the de- 
mand ; it was not in keeping with the great Protestant 

No, it must have something huge, enormous, prodigi- 
ous, because the people love story books, and do not like 
dry matter of fact. How dull is history, or biography^ 
or controversy, compared with a good romance, the Lives 
of highwaymen, a collection of ghost stories, a melo- 
drama, a wild-beast-show, or an execution ! What would 
a Sunday newspaper be without trials, accidents, and 
offences ? Thei'efore the poor Catholic is dressed up like 
a scarecrow to gratify on a large scale the passions of 
curiosity, fright, and hatred. Something pr other we 
must fear, we must loathe, we must suspect, even if it be 
to turn away our minds from our own inward miseries. 
Hence it is, if a stranger comes to a small town, that he 
furnishes so inexhaustible a supply of gossip to his neigh- 
bours, about who he is, what he was, whom he knows, 
why he comes, and when he will go. If a house is empty 
for a while, it is sure to be haunted. When learning 
began to revive, your student was the object of curious 
horror ; and Dr. Faustus, the printer and, as the nurser}: 
rhyme goes, schoolmaster, was made a magician, and is 


still drawn as such in poems and romances. When then 
a Catholic Church is opened in a place, or a monastic 
body takes up its abode there, its novelty and strangeness 
are a call for fiction on those who have a talent for 
invention ; and the world would be seriously disappointed, 
if all manner of superstition were not detected in the 
Church's rites, and all manner of wickedness in her 
priests and nuns. 

The popular appetite does not clamour long in vain. 
It asks, and it is answered. Look at that poor degraded 
creature, strolling about from village to village, from 
settlement to farmhouse, among a primitive and simple 
population. She has received an injury in her head, 
when young ; and this has taken away, in part, her re- 
sponsibility, while it has filled her brain with wild ideas, 
and given it a morbid creative power. Ere she is grown 
up she leaves her home, and flits here and there, the 
prey of any one who meets with her. Catholics are all 
round about her ; as a child she has been in a Catholic 
school, and perhaps she has from time to time wandered 
into Catholic Churches. She enters, she peers about ; 
still and demure, yet with wild curious eyes, and her own 
wanton thoughts. She sees, at first glance, the sanctity 
and gravity of the ceremonial : she is struck with the 
appearance of modesty whether in the sacred ministers 
or in the sisters ; but her evil heart instantly suggests 
that what shows so well is nothing but a show, and that 
close under the surface Hes corruption. She contem- 
plates the whole scene, she cannot forget it ; but she 
asks herself, what if it be but a solemn mockery cloaking 
bad deeds ? The words, the actions, so calm, so gentle, 
the words of peace, the sacramental actions, she carries 
them off with an accurate memory ; those verses and 



responses, those sweet voices, those blessings, and cross- 
ings, and sprinkhngs, and genuflections. But what if 
they all be a cloak ? And when the priest went out, or 
when he spoke to any one, what is it all about? And 
when he was in his confessional, and first one, and then 
another came to him, what could they be saying? Ah, 
what indeed ! what if it all be but a cloak for sin I 
There is the point. What if it be but a jest 2 O the plea- 
sant mischief ! the stirring, merry fancy ! to think that 
men can look so grave yet love sin, that women too, who 
pretend so much, need not be better than she is herself; 
that that meek face, or those holy hands belong to a 
smooth hypocrite, who acts the angel, and lives the 
devil ! She looks closer and closer, measuring the limbs, 
scanning the gestures, and drinking in the words of 
those who unconsciously go about their duties in her 
presence ; and imputing meanings to the most harmless 
and indifferent actions. It really is as she suspected, 
and the truth breaks upon her more and more. Her 
impure imagination acts upon her bodily vision, and she 
begins to see the image of her own suspicions in the 
objects she is gazing on. A sort of mirage spreads 
through the sacred building, or religious house, and 
horrors of all kind float across her brain. She goes 
away, but they pursue her ; — what may not have taken 
place amid those holy rites or within those consecrated 
walls ? The germ of a romance is already fermenting in 
her brain, and day after day it becomes more developed 
in its parts, and more consistent in its form. 

Poor sinful being ! She finds herself in a Peni- 
tentiary ; no, sure, it is a religious house ; so she will 
consider it ; every thing she sees there speaks to her of 
her feverish dream ; the penitents become nuns ; the 


very rooms, windows, passages, and stairs, she recognizes 
thein as conventual, the very convent which her fancy 
has been framing. Things utterly separate from each 
other are confused together in her bewildered mind ; 
and when she comes into the world again, she thinks 
herself a nun escaped from confinement, and she now 
begins to recollect scenes of indescribable horror, which 
gradually become clearer and clearer. Now, Protestant 
public, the hour is come ; you have craved after lies, 
and you shall have your fill ; you have demanded, and 
here is the supply. She opens her mouth; she lifts her 
voice ; your oracle, your prophet, your idol, Oh, Protes- 
tant public, is about to speak ; she begins her " Awful Dis- 
closures ;" who is this hapless creature, very wicked, very 
mischievous, yet much to be pitied 1 It is Maria Monk. 
My Brothers, in what I have been saying, I have but 
given substance in my own way to the facts recorded of 
her ; but those facts are simply as I have stated them. 
The history of the wretched impostor was traced out 
and given to the world immediately on the publication of 
her romance. It was deposed by divers witnesses that 
she was born of parents who had lived at Montreal in 
Canada, about the year 1816. When about seven years 
old, she broke a slate pencil in her head, and had been 
strange ever since ; at the age of eight she frequented a 
convent school ; when about fourteen or fifteen she left 
her mother's roof, and is found successively in the ser- 
vice of various persons, an hotel-keeper, a farmer, a 
tradesman, and others, and then for a time dependent on 
charity. From one of her mistresses she absconded 
with a quantity of wearing-linen ; she was discharged by 
two others for her bad conduct, and was generally looked 
upon as a person of at least doubtful character. Then 

o 2 


she made her appearance at Montreal itself, declaring she 
was daughter to Dr. Robertson, a magistrate of the city, 
who had kept her chained in a cellar for four years. This 
attempt failing, she next went off to the United States, 
appeared at New York, and then began a second and 
a more successful tale against one of the convents of the 
city she had left, from which she said she had escaped. 
She was taken up by a party of New York Protestants, 
who thoroughly believed her, and reduced her story to 
writing. Who was the author is not quite certain ; two 
names have been mentioned, one of them a person con- 
nected with this very place. In this book, whoever wrote 
it, she gives a minute description of her imaginary con- 
vent in Montreal, and some of the nuns and others she 
professed to have known there. On the slander making 
its way to Montreal, Protestants carefully went over the 
calumniated convent ; and they reported after minute 
inspection that it in no respect answered to her account of 
it ; indeed it was certain she had never been within it. 
It was proved on the other hand, that her description 
did distinctly answer to a Penitentiary of which she had 
lately been an inmate, and whence she was dismissed for 
bad conduct ; and further, that the account she gave of 
her nuns in the convent answered to some of her fellow 
penitents. Moreover, there is something about the book 
more remarkable still, not indeed as it concerns her, but 
as it concerns the argument I have in several of these 
Lectures been pursuing. I have insisted much on the 
traditional character of the fable, of which Catholics are 
the victims. It is the old lie, brought up again and 
again. Now this is most singularly exemplified in the 
infamous work I am speaking of. On its appearance the 
newspapers of the day asserted, without contradiction, 


that it was in great measure a mere republication of a 
work printed in the year 1731 under the title of 
" The Gates of Hell opened, or a Development of the 
Secrets of Nunneries." " Maria Monk's pamphlet," 
says a Liverpool paper, "is a verbatim copy of that 
work, the only difference being a change of names." The 
editor of a Boston paper " pledged himself that this was 
the fact ;" and the editor of another " was ready to make 
affidavit that the original work was in his possession a 
few months previously, when it had been lent to the pub- 
lishers of Maria Monk's Disclosures." To show this 
he copied out passages from both works, which were the 
same word for word ". 

Here then you have a witness who is prepared to 
go any lengths in support of the Protestant Tradition, 
however truth or principle may lie in her way ; and 
offensive as it will be to you to listen, and painful to me 
to read, you must for the sake of the contrast between 
her and Mr. Blanco White, submit to one or two of those 
passages from her romance, which I am able without 
impropriety to quote. 

Now first I will give you the key to the whole book 
considered as a composition, and its burden, and (what 
may be called) its moral as addressed to the Protestant 
world. It is an idea, which, as I have already said, was 
naturally suggested to an impure mind, and forcibly 
addressed itself to a curious reader. Mankind neces- 
sarily proceeds upon the notion that what is within dis- 
closes itself by what is without ; that the soul prompts 
the tongue, inspires the eye, and rules the demeanour ; 

* For these facts, vid. A complete refutation of Maria Monk's atrocious 
plot, &c., by Rev. R. W. Willson (now Bishop of Hobai-t Town), Not- 
tiiigham, ia37. 


and such is the doctrine of holy writ, when it tells us 
that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth 
speaketh." Hence when strangers visit a nunnery, and 
see the order, cheerfulness, and quiet which reigns 
through it, they naturally take all this as the indication 
of that inward peace and joy which ought to be the 
portion of its inmates. And again, when strangers 
attend mass, and observe the venerable and awful cha- 
racter of the rite, they naturally are led to think that 
the priest is " holding up pure hands," and is as unde- 
filed in heart as he is grave in aspect. Now it is the 
object of this Narrative to reverse this natural associa- 
tion, to establish the contrary principle, and to impress 
upon the mind that what is within is always what the 
outward appearance is not, and that the more of saintli- 
ness is in the exterior, the more certainly is there 
depravity and guilt in the heart. And it must be con- 
fessed, there have been cases where what looked fair and 
beautiful was but a whited sepulchre, " full within of 
dead men''s bones and of all filthiness ;" such cases have 
been and may be, but they are unnatural surely, not 
natural ; the exception, not the rule. To consider this 
as the rule of things, you must destroy all trust in the 
senses: when a man laughs, you must say he is sad; 
when he cries, you must say he is merry ; when he is 
overbearing in words, you must call him gentle ; and 
when he says foolish tilings, you must call him wise ; all 
because sad hearts sometimes wear cheerful counte- 
nances, and divine wisdom sometimes has condescended 
to look like folly. It is reported to have been said by 
an able diplomatist, that the use of words is to disguise 
men's thoughts ; but the very wit of the remark lies in 
the preposterous principle it ironically implies. Yet 


still to the run of readers there is something attractive 
in this perverted and unhealthy notion, both from a sort 
of malevolence and love of scandal, which possesses the 
minds of the vulgar, and from the wish to prove others, 
who seem religious, to be even worse than themselves ; and 
besides, from the desire of mystery and marvel, which 
prompts them, as I have said before, to have recourse to 
some monstrous tale of priestcraft for excitement, as they 
would betake themselves to a romance or a ghost story. 

Thus she says in one place, or rather the writers who- 
ever they may be ; "I have often reflected how griev- 
ously I had been deceived in my opinions of a nun's 
condition — all the holiness of their lives, I now found, 
was merely pretended. The appearance of sanctity and 
heavenly-mindedness which they had shown among us 
novices, I found was only a disguise, to conceal such 
practices as would not be tolerated in any decent society 
in the world ; and, as for joy and peace like that of 
heaven, which I had expected to find among them, I 
learned too well that they did not exist there ''. 

Again, speaking of a picture of the infernal pit, at 
which the nuns were looking, she introduces a nun, say- 
ing something so dreadful, that a reader hardly knows 
whether to laugh or to cry at it. " I remember she named 
the wretch who was biting at the bars of hell, with a 
serpent gnawing his head, with chains and padlocks on, 
Father Dufresne ; and she would say. Does he not look 
like him, when he comes in to catechism with his long 
solemn face, and begins his speeches with, ' My children, 
my hope is that you have lived very devout lives* T" 

In such passages, the object of the writer is to fami- 
liarize the reader's imagination to the notion that hypo- 
^ P. 116. * P. 82. 


crisy is natural, and the ordinary state of things, and to 
create in him a permanent association between any 
serious act whatever and inward corruption. They make 
the appearance of religion the presumption, not of reality, 
but of hollowness, and their very extravagance is their 
plausibility. The reader says, " It is so shocking, it 
must be true ; no one could have invented it." 

It is with a view to increase this unnatural plausibility 
that the writers dwell minutely on various details which 
happen, or might easily happen, in Catholic Churches 
and convents. For instance, they say, " The old priest 
. . . when going to administer (the Blessed Sacrament) 
in any country place, used to ride with a man before 
him, who rang a bell as a signal. When the Canadians 
heard it, whose habitations he passed, they would come 
and prostrate themselves to the earth, worshipping it as 
God." Of course, it is so ; Catholics do worship the 
Blessed Sacrament, because they believe it to be our 
Lord Himself. Therefore we will say so in our book, 
for we wish to lie naturally, we wish to root our impos- 
ture in a foundation of truth. 

Again ; " The bell rang at half-past six to awaken us. 
The old nun who was acting as night-watch immediately 
spoke aloud, ' Behold the Lord cometh ! ' The nuns 
all responded, ' Let us go and meet Him." Presently, 
' We then kneeled, and kissed the floor \'' " 

Now observe the effect of all this : when a person, who 
never was in a Catholic Church or convent, reads such 
particulars, when he reads, moreover, of the lattice-work 
of the confessional, of the stoup of holy water, and the 
custom of dipping the finger into it, of silence during 
dinner, and of recreation after it ; of a priest saying 
' P. 39. 


mass with his hands first joined together, and then 
spread, and his face to the altar ; of his being addressed 
by the title of " my Father," and speaking of his " chil- 
dren," and many other similar particulars ; and then 
afterwards actually sees some Catholic establishment, 
he says to himself, " This is just what the book said ;" 
" here is quite the very thing of which it gave me the 
picture ;" and, I repeat, he has, in consequence of his 
reliance on it, so associated the acts of the ceremonial, 
the joined hands or the downcast eye, with what his 
book went on slanderously to connect them, with hor- 
rible sin, that he cannot disconnect them in his ima- 
gination ; and he thinks the Catholic Priest already 
convicted of hypocrisy, because he observes those usages 
which all the world knows that he does observe, which 
he is obliged to observe, and which the Church has 
ever observed. Thus you see the very things, which are 
naturally so touching and so beautiful in the old Catholic 
forms of devotion, become by this artifice the means of 
infusing suspicion into the mind of the beholder. 

Yes ; all this outward promise of good is but a beau- 
tiful veil, hiding behind it untold horrors. Let us lift it, 
so far as we may do so, without sharing in the writer's 
sin. Our heroine has passed through her noviciate, and 
proceeds to take the vows. Then she learns suddenly 
the horrors of her situation ; she was, in fact, in a house 
of evil spirits ; she represents herself, as was very natu- 
ral, supposing she had been a religious person, overcome 
by distress, and unable to resign herself to her lot ; and 
she was told by the Mother Superior, " that such feelings 
were very common at first, and that many other nuns 
had expressed themselves as I did, who had long since 
changed their minds. She even said, on her entrance 


into the nunnery, she had felt like mo. Doubts, she 
declared, were among our greatest enemies. They would 
lead us to question every path of duty, and induce us to 
waver at every step. They arose only from remaining 
imperfections, and were always evidences of sin ; our 
only way was to dismiss them immediately, to repent, to 
confess them. They were deadly sins, and would con- 
demn us to hell, if we should die without confessing 
them. Priests, she insisted, could not sin. It was a 
thing impossible. Every thing they did and wished was 
of course right*."" 

Now, my Brothers, you know there is a divine law 
written on the heart by nature, and that the Catholic 
Church is built on that law, and cannot undo it. No 
priest, no Bishop, no Council can make that right which 
is base and shameful. In this passage the false witness 
would make the Protestant world believe, that nuns are 
obliged to obey their confessors in commands strictly 
sinful, and horrible, and blasphemous. How different 
from the true witness, Mr. Blanco White ! He said all 
he could against convents ; he never hinted that religious 
women were taught by the priests that priests could not 
possibly sin, could not possibly issue a sinful command, 
could not possibly have a sinful wish ; and therefore 
must be obeyed whatever they asked. His quarrel with 
the Catholic Religion was that it was too strict, not that 
it was too lax ; that it gave rise to nervousness, scruples, 
and melancholy. His utmost accusation, except in the 
case of the unbelieving few, was that he knew some 
persons, and he believed there were others, who sinned, 
knew their sin, came and confessed it, and sinned 

2 P. 35. 


again. There was no calling evil good, and good evil. 
Let her continue her revelations: — 

" She also gave me another piece of information, which 
excited other feelings in me, scarcely less dreadful. In- 
fants were sometimes born in the convent, but they were 
always baptized, and immediately strangled. This secured 
their everlasting happiness ; for the baptism purified 
them from all sinfulness, and being sent out of the world 
before they had time to do any thing wrong, they were 
at once admitted into heaven. How happy, she ex- 
claimed, are those who secure immortal happiness for 
such little beings ! Their little souls would thank those 
who killed their bodies, if they had it in their power *." 

" So far as I know, there were no pains taken to pre- 
serve secrecy on this subject. ... I believe I learned 
through the nuns, that at least eighteen or twenty infants 
were smothered, and secretly buried in the cellar, while 
I was a nun *." 

The nuns, according to her account, underwent the 
same fate, if they would not resign themselves to the 
mode of life in all its details, for which alone, as it would 
seem, the nunnery was set up. She gives an account of 
the murder of one of them, and after quoting this, I 
consider I may fairly be excused from quoting any more. 

" I entered the door," she says, " my companions 
standing behind me, as the place was so small as hardly 
to hold five persons at a time. The young nun was 
standing alone, near the middle of the room ; she was 
probably about twenty, with light hair, blue eyes, and a 
very fair complexion *." The poor victim is brought to 
the Bishop, who, the writer says, " it was easy to per- 

» P. 36. * p. 120. » r. 75. 


ceive, considered her fate to be sealed, and was deter- 
mined she should not escape. In reply to some of the 
questions put to her, she was silent ; to others, I heard 
her voice reply, that she did not repent of words she had 
uttered ; though they had been reported by some of the 
nuns who had heard them ; that she had firmly resolved 
to resist any attempt to compel her to the commission of 
crimes which she detested. She added, that she would 
rather die than cause the murder of harmless babes. 
' That is enough, finish her ! ' said the Bishop. Two 
nuns instantly fell upon the woman ; and, in obedience 
to directions given by the Superior, prepared to execute 
her sentence. She still maintained all the calmness and 
submission of a lamb." Then they gag her, and throw 
her on a bed. " In an instant," the narrative proceeds, 
" another bed was thrown upon her. One of the priests 
sprung like a fury upon it with all his force. He was 
speedily followed by the nuns, until there were as many 
upon the bed as could find room, and all did what they 
could, not only to smother, but to bruise her. . . After 
the lapse of fifteen or twenty minutes, and when it was 
presumed that the sufferer had been smothered and 
crushed to death, (the priest) and the nuns ceased to 
trample upon her, and stepped from the bed. All was 
motionless and silent beneath it. They then began to 
laugh," &c. 

But I surely need not continue trash, such as this, 
which is as stupid as it is atrocious. In like manner, she 
tells us the number of nuns killed, the number who killed 
themselves, the various penances and tortures which were 
common, gags, hot irons, glass chewing, and the " cap ;" 
the cells, and every thing which is proper furniture of 
such an abode. She concludes the book with a solemn 


reflection, how hard it is to think aright after thinking 
wrong. " The Scriptures," she is made to say, " always 
affect me powerfully when I read them ; but I feel that 
I have but just begun to learn the great truths, in which 
I ought to have been early instructed. . . . The first 
passage of Scripture that made any serious impression on 
my mind, was the text on which the chaplain preached 
on the Sabbath after my introduction into the house, 
'Search the Scriptures:'" — and so the book ends. 

I have now described, first, the character of the writer, 
next, the character of her book ; one point alone remains, 
its reception by the public. The calumny first appeared 
in 1836, it still thrives and flourishes in 1851. I have 
made inquiries, and I am told I may safely say that in the 
course of the fifteen years it has lasted^ from 200,000 to 
250,000 copies have been put into circulation in America 
and England. The edition I have used is printed at 
Nottingham in the present year. Vast numbers have been 
sold at a cheap rate and given away by persons who ought 
to have known it was a mere blasphemous fiction ; at this 
very time it is found, I believe, in some of the Parochial 
lending libraries of this place, and I hear rumours con- 
cerning some of the distributors, which from the respect 
I wish to entertain towards their names, I do not know 
how to credit. Nor have these various efforts been 
without visible fruit, at least in America. A nunnery 
was burnt down at Charlestown ; and at New York fifty 
houses, inhabited by Catholics, were also destroyed by 
fire, which extended to the Cathedral. 

And thus I have completed, my Brothers, the contrast 
I proposed to set before you. A writer of name, of charac- 
ter, of honour, of gentleman-like feeling, who has the 
entre of the first and most intellectual circles of the 


metropolis, and is the friend of the first Protestant 
ecclesiastics of his day, records his testimony against 
Catholicism, it is in the main true, and it fails : a worth- 
less stroller gets her own testimony put into writing; 
it is a heap of fables, and it triumphantly succeeds. 
Let the people be the judge ; — their award reveals a 
great fact ; truth is not equal to the exigences of the Pro- 
testant cause, falsehood is its best friend. 

Nor let it be imagined, my Brothers, that I have unfairly 
selected my examples, in order to serve a purpose. Men 
of Birmingham ought more than others to acquit me of 
this. Only two years have I been here, and each of these 
two has been signalized by accusations against Catholics, 
the same in the disreputableness of their authors, and in 
the enormity of their falsehood, and in the brilliancy of 
their success, as this of Maria Monk. Two years ago it 
was Jeffreys, last year it was Teodore. You recollect 
how Jeffreys acted his part, how he wept, and prayed, and 
harangued, and raised a whole population against an inno- 
cent company of Monks, and how he was convicted of 
fraud, and confessed his guilt, and was sent to prison : you 
also recollect how an impostor, called Teodore, declaimed 
such shocking things, and wrote such indecent pamphlets 
against us, that they cannot have been intended for any 
other purpose than to afford merriment to the haunts of 
profligacy and vice ; yet he was followed for a time, was 
admitted into Protestant places of worship, and honoured 
as a truth-telling oracle, till at length he was plainly de- 
tected to be what every one from the first would have 
seen he really was, were it usual to do the same common 
justice to Catholics which every Protestant considers his 
due ; — for falsehood is the basis of the Protestant Tra- 


On the other hand, I might give you other instances 
similar to that of Mr. Blanco White. I might point to 
Mr. Steimnitz, who, within the last ten years, began his 
noviciate among the Jesuits, left them, turned Pro- 
testant, and published an account of the community he 
had quitted. He wrote to expose them, and abounded 
in bitterness and invective ; but as to his facts, so little 
had he to produce from his own personal knowledge to 
the disadvantage of the institution he was attacking, and 
so severely did he disappoint the Protestants for whom 
he wrote, that they considered his work, what they 
called a Jesuitical trick, and said that he was pretending 
to attack the good fathers in order really to set them off 
to advantage ; — for truth is no aid to the Protestant 

Falsehood succeeds for a generation, or for an era ; but 
therein it has its full course and comes to an end. Truth 
is eternal ; it is great, and will prevail. The end is the 
proof of things. Brothers of the Oratory, surely we 
shall succeed because " they say all manner of evil 
against us falsely for His Name's sake." 

[Lectures on the present Position of Catholicism in 
England, hy the Rev. J. H. Newman, D.D.] 



A CONSIDERATION was incidentally introduced into the 
argument which engaged our attention last week, Bro- 
thers of the Oratory, which deserves insisting on, in the 
general view which I am taking of the present position 
of the Catholic Religion in England. I then said that, 
even putting aside the special merits and recommenda- 
tions of the Catholic rule of celibacy, as enjoined upon 
the Priesthood and as involved in Monachism (with 
which I was not concerned), and looking at the question 
in the simple view of it, to which Protestants confine 
themselves, and keeping ourselves strictly on the defen- 
sive, still, when instances of bad priests and bad religious 
are brought against us, we might fairly fall back upon 
what may be called the previous question. I mean, it is 
incumbent on our opponents to show, that there are 
fewer cases of scandal among a married clergy than 
among an unmarried ; fewer cases of mental conflict, of 
restlessness, of despondency, of desolation, of innnorality, 



and again of cruel slavery and hopeless suffering, among 
Protestant women, whether unmarried or wives, than 
among Catholic nuns. It must be shown that in such 
instances of guilt or sorrow which can be adduced, the 
priests accused have fallen into sin, the nuns compas- 
sionated have passed from happiness to misery, distinctly 
hy virtue of the vow which binds them to a single life : — 
for till this is proved, nothing is proved. Protestants, 
however, for the most part, find it very pleasant to 
attack others, very irksome and annoying to defend 
themselves ; they judge us by one rule, themselves by 
another ; and they convict us of every sin under heaven 
for doing sometimes what they do every day. 

This one-sidedness, as it may be called, is one of the 
very marks or notes of a Protestant ; and bear in mind, 
when I use the word Protestant, I do not mean thereby 
all who are not Catholics, but distinctly the disciples of 
the Elizabethan Tradition. Such a one cannot afford to 
be fair ; he cannot be fair if he tries. He is ignorant, 
and he goes on to be unjust. He has always viewed 
things in one light, and he cannot adapt himself to any 
other ; he cannot throw himself into the ideas of other 
men, fix upon the principles on which those ideas depend, 
and then set himself to ascertain how those principles 
differ, or whether they differ at all, from those which he 
acts upon himself ; and, like a man who has been for a 
long while in one position, he is cramped and disabled, 
and has a difficulty and pain, more than we can well con- 
ceive, in stretching his limbs, straightening them, and 
moving them freely. 

This narrow and one-sided condition of the Protestant 
intellect might be illustrated in various ways. For in- 
stance, as regards the subject of education. It has 


lately beea forcibly shown, that the point which the 
Catholic Church is maintaining against the J3ritish Go- 
vernment in Ireland, as respects the Queen's Colleges 
for the education of the middle and upper classes, is 
precisely that which Protestantism maintains and suc- 
cessfully maintains, against that same Government in 
England ; viz., that secular instruction should not be 
separated from religious *. The Catholics of Ireland are 
asserting the very same principle as the Protestants of 
England; however, the Minister does not feel the logi- 
cal force of the fact ; and the same persons who think it 
so tolerable to indulge Protestantism in the one country, 
are irritated and incensed at a Catholic people for asking 
to be similarly indulged in the other. But how is it that 
intelligent men, who can ascend in their minds from the 
fall of an apple to the revolution of a comet, who can 
apply their economical and political inductions from Eng- 
lish affairs, to the amelioration of Italy and Spain, how 
is it, that, when they come to a question of religion, they 
are suddenly incapable of understanding that what is 
reasonable and defensible in one country, is not utterly 
preposterous and paradoxical in another I AVliat is true 
under one degree of longitude, is true under another. 
You have a right indeed to say that Catholicism itself is 
not true ; but you have no right, for it is bad logic, to be 
surprised that those who think it true, act consistently 
with that supposition ; you do not well to be angry with 
those who resist a policy in Ireland, which your own 
friends and supporters cordially detest and triumphantly 
withstand in Eno-land. 

Take again a very different subject. A Protestant 
blames Catholics for showing honour to images ; yet he 

» Vid. Tablet Newspaper, May 31, 1851. 
P 2 


does it himself. And first, he sees no difificulty in an 
observance in relation to them, quite as repugnant to his 
own ideas of what is rational, as the practice he abomi- 
nates ; and that is, the offering insult and mockery to 
them. Where is the good sense of showing dishonour, 
if it be stupid and brutish to show honour ? Approbation 
and criticism, praise and blame go together. I do not mean 
of course that you dishonour what you honour ; but that 
the two ideas of honour and dishonour so go together, that 
where you can apply (rightly or wrongly, but still) where 
it is possible to apply the one, it is possible to apply the 
other. Tell me, then, what is meant by burning Bishops, 
or Cardinals, or Popes in effigy? has it no meaning? is 
it not plainly intended for an insult 1 Would any one, 
who was burned in effigy, feel it no insult I Well, then, 
how is it, not absurd to feel pain at being dishonoured in 
effigy, yet absurd to feel pleasure at being honoured in 
effigy ? How is it childish to honour an image, if it is 
not childish to dishonour it ? This only can a Protestant 
say in defence of the act which he allows and practises, 
that he is used to it, whereas to the other he is not used. 
Honour is a new idea, it comes strange to him ; and, 
wonderful to say, he does not see that he has admitted it 
in principle already, in admitting dishonour, and after 
preaching against the Catholic, who crowns an image of 
the Madonna, he complacently goes his way, and sets 
light to a straw effigy of Guy Fawkes. 

But this is not all ; Protestants actually set up images 
to represent their heroes, and they show them honour 
without any misgiving. The very flower and cream of 
Protestantism used to glory in the statue of King Wil- 
liam on College Grreen, Dublin; and, though I cannot make 
any reference in point, I recollect well what a shriek 


they raised some years ago, when the figure was unhorsed. 
Some profane person one night blew the king right out 
of his saddle, and he was found by those who took inter- 
est in him, like Dagon, on the ground. You might have 
thought the poor senseless block had life, to see the way 
people took on about it, and how they spoke of his face, 
and his arm, and his legs ; yet those same Protestants, 
I say, would at the same time be horrified, had I used 
" he" and " him" of a crucifix, and would call me one of 
the monsters described in the Apocalypse, did I honour 
my living Lord as they their dead king. 

Another instance : — when James the Second went out, 
and the aforesaid William came in, there were persons 
who refused to swear fidelity to William, because they 
had already sworn fidelity to James ; and who was to 
dispense them from their oath ? yet these scrupulous men 
were the few. The many virtually decided that the oath 
had been conditional, depending on their old king's good 
behaviour, though there was nothing to show it in the 
words in which it ran : and that accordingly they had no 
need to keep it any longer than they liked. And so in a 
similar way, should a Catholic Priest, who has embraced 
the Protestant persuasion, come over to this country, 
and marry a wife, who among his new co-religionists 
would dream of being shocked at it ? Every one would 
think it both natural and becoming, and reasonable too, 
as a protest against Romish superstition ; yet the man 
has taken a vow, and the man has broken it. " Oh ! but 
he had no business to make such a vow, he did it in igno- 
j-ance, it was anti-Christian, it was unlawful." There 
are then, it seems, after all, such things as unlawful oaths, 
and unlawful oaths are not to be kept, and there are 


cases which require a dispensation ; yet let a Catholic 
say this, and he says nothing more, — (rather he says much 
less than the Protestant ; for he strictly defines the 
limits of what is lawful, and what is unlawful, he takes a 
scientific view of the matter and forbids a man to be 
judge in his own case) — let a Catholic, I say, assert what 
the Protestant practices, and he has furnished matter for 
half a dozen platform speeches, and a whole set of He- 
formation Tracts. 

These are some of the instances, which might be en- 
larged upon, of the blindness of our opponents to those 
very same acts or principles in themselves, which they 
impute as enormities to us ; but I leave them for your 
consideration, my Brothers, and proceed to an instance 
of a different character. 

What is a more fruitful theme of declamation against 
us, than the charge of persecution ? The Catholic 
Church is a persecuting power ; and every one of us is 
a persecutor ; and, if we are not by nature persecutors, 
yet we are forced to be persecutors by the necessity we 
lie under of obeying a persecuting Church. Now let us 
direct a careful attention to this Protestant land, which 
has so virtuous a horror of persecution, and so noble a 
loathing of persecutors, and so tender a compassion for 
the persecuted, and let us consider whether the multi- 
tude of men are not, to say the least, in the same boat 
with us ; whether there is any thing which we are said 
to do, which they do not do also, any thing which we are 
said to have done, which they have not done, and there- 
fore, whether, with this theoretical indignation of per- 
secution on the one hand, and this practical sanction of it 


on the other, they are not in the very position of that 
great king, in his evil hour, who sentenced a transgressor, 
when he himself was " the man." 

Now I suppose, when men speak of persecution, and 
say that Catholics persecute, they mean, that Catholics 
on the score of religious offences inflict punishment on 
persons, property, privileges, or reputation ; that we hate, 
calumniate, mock, mob, and disquiet those who differ 
from us ; that we pursue them with tests, disabilities, 
civil penalties, imprisonment, banishment, slavery, tor- 
ture, and death ; that we are inflexible in our tempers, 
relentless in our measures, perfidious in our dealings, 
and remorseless in our inflictions. Something of this 
kind will be said, with a good deal of exaggeration, 
even at very first sight ; but still, as even a candid 
man may perhaps fancy, with some truth at the bot- 
tom. Well, see what I propose to do. I shall not 
discuss any point of doctrine or principle : such a task 
would not fall within the scope of these Lectures ; I 
am not going to assume that savage cruelty, ruthless 
animosity, frantic passion, that love of tormenting and 
delight in death, are right, nor am I going to assume 
that they are wrong ; I am not entering upon any ques- 
tion of the moral law ; — moreover, I will not discuss how 
far Catholics fairly fall under the charge of barbarity, 
mercilessness, and fanaticism, and for this reason, because 
it is not my concern ; for I mean to maintain, that the 
acts imputed to Catholics, whatever be their character, 
so very closely resemble in principle what is done by 
Protestants themselves, and is, in a Protestants judg- 
ment, natural, explicable, and becoming, that Protestants 
are just the very last persons in the world who can with 
safety or consistency call Catholics persecutors, for the 


simple reason, that they should not throw stones who 
live in glass houses. 

I am maintaining no paradox in saying this ; it is a 
truth which is maintained hy intelligent Protestants 
themselves. There is Dr. Whately, the present Protes- 
tant archbishop of Dublin, one of the first writers of the 
day, and a most violent opponent of Catholicism, listen 
how he speaks, at the very time he is inveighing against 
our holy religion. " The Romish Church," he says, 
" which has so long and so loudly been stigmatized as a 
persecuting Church, is indeed deeply stained with this 
guilt, but cannot with any reason be reckoned the origi- 
nating cause of it. . . This, as well as the other Romish 
errors, has its root in the evil heart of the unrenewed 
man. Like the rest, it neither began with Romanism, 
nor can reasonably be expected to end with it ^" 

Now, what I shall do is, to take the Protestant in his 
house, his family, and his circle of friends, in his occu- 
pation, and his civil and political position, as a good kind 
father, as a liberal master, as a useful member of society ; 
and to consider, as regards this matter of persecution, 
whether, could he see himself in a looking-glass, he would 
not mistake himself for a Catholic. 

For instance, what is the first and natural act on the 
part of a Protestant father of a family, when he receives 
the intelligence that his son or daughter, grown up to 
man"'s or woman's estate, nay, long since come of age, has 
become, or is on the point of becoming a Catholic ? Of 
course there are exceptions ; but in most cases his conduct 
is so uniform, so suggestive of a general law, to which 
particular cases belong, that I almost fear to describe it, 
lest, what is farthest from my wish, I seem to be personal, 
2 Whately on Romanism, p. 225. 


and to be indulging in satire, when I am but pursuing an 
argument. " My dear son," the father says, calhng him 
by his Christian name, " you know how tenderly I love 
you, and how indulgent I have ever been to you. I have 
given you the best of educations, and I have been proud 
of you. There is just one thing I cannot stand, and that 
is Popery, and this is the very thing you have gone and 
taken up. You have exercised your right of private 
judgment ; I do not quarrel with you for this ; you are 
old enough to judge for yourself; but I too have sacred 
duties, which are the unavoidable result of your conduct. 
I have duties to your brothers and sisters ; never see my 
face again; my door is closed to you. It wounds me to 
come to this decision, but what can I do ? My affection 
for you is as strong as ever it was, but you have placed 
yourself under influences hostile to your father''s roof and 
your own home, and you must take the consequences." 

No one can look round him, who has much to do with 
conversions and converts, without seeing this fulfilled 
often to the letter, and mutatis mutandis, in a variety of 
parallel cases. Protestants have felt it right, just, and 
necessary to break the holiest of earthly ties, and to in- 
flict the acutest temporal suffering on those who have 
exercised their private judgment in the choice of a re- 
ligion. They have so acted, and they so act daily. A 
sense of duty to religious opinions, and of the supposed 
religious interests of those entrusted to them, has 
triumphed over the feelings of nature. Years have passed, 
perhaps death has come, without any signs of recognition 
passing from the father to the son. Sometimes the 
severance and its consequences may be sterner still : the 
wife may be sent away, her children taken from her, be- 
cause she felt a call in conscience to join the Catholic 


Church. The son has been cut off (as they say) to a 
shilHng. The daughter has been locked up, her books 
burned, the rites of her rehgion forbidden her. The 
malediction has been continued to the third generation ; 
the grandchildren, the child unborn, has not been tole- 
rated by the head of the family, because the parents were 
converts to the faith of their forefathers. 

Nature pleads ; and therefore, to fortify the mind, the 
various reasons for such severity must be distinctly passed 
before it, and impressed upon it, and passion must be 
roused to overcome affection. " Such a base, grovelling, 
demoralizing religion, unworthy of a man of sense, un- 
worthy of a man ! I would have borne his turning Drura- 
mondite, Plymouth Brother, or Mormonite. He might 
have joined the Agapemone. I would rather see him an 
unbeliever ; yes, I say it deliberately. Popery is worse 
than Paganism. I had rather see him dead. I could 
have borne to see him in his coffin. I cannot see him the 
slave of a priest. And then the way in which he took 
the step : he never let me know, and had been received 
before I had had a hint about it ;" or, " he told me what 
he meant to do, and then did it in spite of me ;" or, "he 
was so weak and silly," or " so headstrong," or " so long 
and obstinately set upon it." " He had nothing to say 
for himself," or " he was always arguing." " He was in- 
veigled into it by others," or " he ought to have consulted 
others, he had no right to have an opinion. Any how he 
is preferring strangers to his true friends ; he has shown 
an utter disregard of the feelings of his parents and 
relations ; he has been ungrateful to his father." 

These are a few out of the many thoughts which pass 
through the Protestant's mind under the circumstances 
I have supposed, and which impel him to inflict a severe 

THE puotb:stant view. 179 

penalty on a child for a change of religion. And if there 
be Protestant fathers, who demur to the correctness of 
this representation (and I am using the word Protestant 
in its proper sense, as I have noticed several times 
before), I beg to ask such parents whether, in fact, they 
have themselves suffered the affliction I have supposed, — 
I mean, that of their children becoming Catholics ; and, 
if they have not, I entreat them to fancy such an afflic- 
tion for a moment, and hovt' they would feel and act, if it 
really took place. Rather they will not be able to get 
themselves to fancy it ; I am sure that most of them will 
revolt from the thought in indignation : the very sup- 
position irritates them. " I should like to see any son 
or daughter of mine turning Papist!" is the thought 
which spontaneously rises in their mind. 

I have been speaking of the upper and middle classes : 
in the lower the feeling is the same, only more uncour- 
teously expressed, and acted on more summarily. The 
daughter, on her return home, tells the mother that she 
has been attending, and means to attend, the Catholic 
chapel ; whereupon the mother instantly knocks the 
daughter down, and takes away from her her bonnet and 
shawl, and the rest of her clothes, to keep her in doors : 
or if it is the case of a wife, the husband falls to cursing, 
protests he will kill her if she goes near the Catholics ; 
and that if the priest comes there, he will pitch him out 
of window. Such are specimens of what Dr. Whately 
truly calls, " the evil heart of the unrenewed man."" • 

Perhaps, however, the one party or the other gives 
way ; milder counsels prevail with the persecutor, or the 
persecuted is menaced into submission. A poor child is 
teased and worried, till, to escape black looks, sharp 
speeches, petty mortifications, and the unsympathizing 



chill of the domestic atmosphere, she consents to go to 
Protestant worship ; and is forced to sit, stand, and 
kneel, in outward deference to a ceremonial which she 
utterly disbelieves, and perhaps hates. At length, doing 
violence to her conscience, she loses her sense of the 
reality of Catholicism, grows indifferent to all religion, 
sceptical of the truth of every thing, and utterly des- 
ponding and sick at heart and miserable. Her friends 
suspect her state, but it is better than Popery ; their 
detestation of the Catholic religion is so intense, that, 
provided their child is saved from its influence, for them 
she may believe any thing or nothing ; and as to her dis- 
tress of mind, time will overcome it — they will get her 
married. Such is a Protestant's practical notion of free- 
dom of opinion, religious liberty, private judgment, and 
those other fine principles which he preaches with such 
unction in public meetings, and toasts so enthusiastically 
at public dinners. 

Perhaps, however, there is a compromise. Terms are 
made, conditions exacted ; the parties who have made 
the mistake of thinking they might judge for themselves, 
are taken into favour again, — are received under the 
paternal roof on the rigid stipulation that no sign of 
Catholicism is to escape them ; their mouths are to be 
sealed ; their devotional manuals to be hid ; their beads 
must never escape from their pocket ; their crucifix must 
lie in a drawer ; opinion is to be simply put down in the 

As to domestic servants whose crime is to be Catho- 
lics, far more summary measures are taken with them ; 
not less cruel in effect, though more plausible in repre- 
sentation. They are the first to suffer from a popular cry 
against the Catholic Religion. Perhaps, some reverend 


person high in station draws public attention to this de- 
fenceless portion of the community, — not to protect them 
from those moral dangers which benevolent statesmen are 
striving to mitigate, — but to make them the objects of 
suspicion, and to set their masters and mistresses against 
them. Suddenly a vast number of young persons are 
thrown out of their situations, simply because they are 
Catholics — because, forsooth, they are supposed to be 
emissaries of the Jesuits, spies upon the family, and 
secret preachers of Popery. Whither are they to go ? 
home they have none : trials and perils they have without 
number, which ought to excite remorse in the breasts of 
those, who, at the gain of a smart argument in contro- 
versy, or a telling paragraph in a speech or a charge, are 
the cause o^ their misfortunes. They look about in vain 
for a fresh place ; and their only chance of success is by 
accepting any wages, however poor, which are offered 
them, and going into any service, however hard, however 
low, however disadvantageous. Well, but let us suppose 
the best that can befal them : they shall be tolerated in 
a household and not discharged ; but what is the price 
they pay for this indulgence I They are to give up their 
religious duties ; never to go to confession ; only once or 
twice a year to mass ; or an arrangement is made, as a 
great favour, to allow them to go monthly. Moreover, 
they are had up into the parlour or drawing-room for 
family prayers, or to hear tracts and treatises, abusive of 
their religion, or to endure the presence of some solemn 
I'rotestant Curate, who is expressly summoned to scare 
and browbeat, if he cannot persuade, a safe victim, whom 
her hard circumstances have made dependent on the 
tyranny of othei's. 

Now I would have every Protestant to whom my words 


may eome, put his hand on his heart and say, first, whe- 
ther scenes such as I have been describing, whether in 
high Hfe or in low, are not very much what he would call 
persecution in Catholics ; and next, whether they can by 
any, the utmost ingenuity, be referred, in the cases sup- 
posed, to any Catholic influence as their cause. On the 
contrary, they come out of the very depths and inner- 
most shrine of the Protestant heart : it is undeniable, 
the very stanchest Protestants are the actors in them : 
nay, the stancher they are, the more faithfully do they 
sustain their part : and yet, I repeat, if a similar occur- 
rence were reported of some Catholic family in Italy or 
Spain, these very persons whose conduct 1 have been 
describing, would listen with great satisfaction to the 
invectives of any itinerant declaimer, who should work up 
the sternness of the father, the fury of the mother, the 
beggary of children and grandchildren, the blows struck, 
the imprecations uttered, the imprisonment, the over- 
persuasion, or the compulsory compromise, into a demon- 
stration that Popery was nothing else than a persecuting 
power, impatient of light, and afraid of inquiry, and 
forcing upon fathers, mothers, and husbands, under pain 
of reprobation, the duty of tormenting their children, and 
discharging their servants at an hour's warning. 

Let us walk abroad with those children or servants, 
who, by the spirit of Protestantism, have been sent about 
their business for being Catholics, and we shall see fresh 
ma,nifestations of its intolerance. Go into the workshops 
and manufactories, you will find it in full operation. The 
convert to Catholicism is dismissed by his employer; 
the tradesman loses his custom ; the practitioner his pa- 
tients ; the lawyer has no longer the confidence of his 
cUents ; pecuniary aid is reclaimed, or its promise re- 


called ; business is crippled, the shop cannot be opened ; 
the old is left without provision, the young without his 
outfit — he must look about for himself; his friends fight 
shy of him ; gradually they drop him, if they do not dis- 
own him at once. There used to be pleasant houses open 
to him, and a circle of acquaintance. People were glad 
to see him, and he felt himself, though solitary, not 
lonely ; he was by himself, indeed, but he had always a 
refuge from himself, without having recourse to public 
amusements which he disliked. It is now all at an end ; 
he gets no more invitations ; he is not a welcome guest ; 
he at length finds himself in Coventry ; and where his 
presence once was found, now it is replaced by malicious 
and monstrous tales about him, distorted shadows of 
himself, freely circulated and readily believed. What is 
his crime ? — he is a Catholic among Protestants. 

If such is the conduct of Protestant society towards 
individuals, what is it not against the Priest ? what 
against the Catholic Name itself! Do you think it is 
with the good will of Establishment, Wesleyan Con- 
nexion, and various other denominations of religion, that 
Catholics are in Birmingham at all ? Do we worship, — 
have we a place of worship, — with or against the will 
of the bodies in question ? Would they not close all 
our churches and chapels to-morrow, would they not cut 
the ground from under us, if they could ? what hinders 
them turning us all out of the place, except that they 
can't ! Attend to this, my Brothers, and observe its 
bearing. You know what an outcry is raised, because 
the Roman government does not sell or give ground to 
Protestants to build a Protestant Church in the centre 
of Rome : that government hinders them there, because 
it is able ; Protestants do not hinder us here because they 
are not able. Can they, in the face of day, deny this ? — 


they cannot. Why, then, do they find fault with others 
who do, because they can, what they themselves would do 
if they could? Do not tell me, then, that they are in 
earnest when they speak of the " intolerance of Catholics"" 
abroad : they ought to come into court with clean hands. 
They do just the same themselves, as far as they can ; 
only, since they cannot do it to their mind's content, they 
are determined it shall form an article of impeachment 
against us ; and they eagerly throw a stone that comes 
to hand, though it is only by an accident that it does not 
fall back on themselves ; like the boy in the story, who 
went and told of his playmate, who was before him in 
stealing the gooseberry pie. It has lately been reported in 
the papers, that the Catholics of Italy are going to build 
a Church in London for their poor countrymen, who in 
great numbers are found there. Let them go to the 
Board of Woods and Forests (and less equitable bodies 
might be found), and try to negotiate a purchase of 
ground for a site ; would Government for a moment en- 
tertain the proposal ? would it not laugh at their impu- 
dence in asking ? would the people suffer the Government, 
even if it were disposed ? would there not be petitions to 
the two Houses, enough to break the tables on which 
they were ranged, petitions to the Queen enough to block 
up the Home Office? would not the whole press, both 
daily and weekly, in town and in country, groan and 
tremble under the portentous agitation such a project 
would occasion ? Happily for Catholics, other ground is 
to be had. But would not Court and Ministry, Esta- 
blishment, Wesleyans, almost every political party, al- 
most all the denominations of London, the Court of 
Aldermen, the Common Council, the City Companies, 
the great landlords, the Inns of Court, and the Vestries, 
hinder any Catholic Church if they could ? Yet these 


are the parties to cry out against a proceeding in Rome, 
which they do their best to imitate in London. 

But this is not all : in spite of their manifesting, every 
day of their lives, an intense desire to do us all the harm 
in their power, wonderful to say, they go on to reproach 
us with ingratitude, We evince no gratitude, say the 
Protestant Bishops, for the favours which have been 
shown us. Gratitude for what ? What favours have we 
received ? the Frenchman's good fortune, and nothing 
else. When he boasted the king had spoken to him, he 
was naturally asked what the king had said ; and he an- 
swered, that his Majesty had most graciously cried out 
to him, " Fellow, stand out of the way." Statesmen 
would ignore us if they could : they recognize us in order 
to coerce ; they cannot coerce without recognizing, there- 
fore at last they condescend to recognize. When there 
was a talk several years ago, of an interchange of minis- 
ters between England and the Pope, then they would not 
have his name mentioned ; he was not to be called by any 
title of his own, but by a new-fangled name, framed for 
the occasion. He was to be known as " Sovereign of 
the Roman States ;" a title which pretty well provided, 
should occasion occur, for treating with some other sove- 
reign power in his States, who should not be he. Now 
that they wish to do him an injury, forthwith they wake 
up to the fact of his existence. Our statesmen aifect to 
know nothing of the greatest power on earth, the most 
ancient dynasty in history, till it comes right across their 
path, and then they can recognize as foes, what before 
they could not recognize as gentlemen. 

Indeed, if the truth must be told, so one-sided is this 
Protestantism, that its supporters have not yet admitted 
the notion into their minds, that the Catholic Cluirch has 



as much right to make converts in England, as any other 
denomination. It is a new idea to them ; they thought 
she ought to be content with vegetating, as a sickly 
plant, in some back yard or garret window ; but to at- 
tempt to spread her faith abroad — this is the real insidi- 
ousness, and the veritable insult. I say this advisedly. 
Some public men, indeed, have even confessed it ; they 
have been candid enough to admit distinctly, that the 
penal Bill is intended to throw a damper on our energies ; 
and others imply it who dare not say it. There are 
words, for instance, imputed to the Prime Minister with 
reference to a publication of my own, which puts the 
matter in a very clear point of view. I have to acknow- 
ledge his civility to myself personally ; and I am sure, 
though I have an aversion to his party ^ and his politics, 
of twenty, nay, thirty years' standing, yet I bear nothing 
but good will to himself, except as the representative of the 
one and the other. But now consider what he said. It 
appears he had laid it down, that his only object in his 
Parliamentary measure was to resist any temporal pre- 
tensions of the Pope ; and, in proof, observe, that such 
pretensions were made, what does he do, but quote 
some words which I used in a Sermon preached at St. 
Chad's, last October, on occasion of the establishment 
of the Hierarchy. Now what was that Sermon about ? 
was there a word in it about Catholics exercising or 
gaining temporal power in England, which was the point 
on which he was insisting ? — not a syllable. I may con- 
fidently say, for I know my own feelings on the subject, 
that the notion of any civil or political aggrandizement of 
Catholicism never came into my head. From the begin- 

* The fii(TT)Tbg crdaiQ of Mr. Froude : vid. Lyra Apostolica, 133. 


ning to the end of the Sermon, I spoke simply and purely 
of conversions — of conversions of individuals, of the 
spread of the Church by means of individual conversions, 
by the exercise of private judgment, by the communica- 
tion of mind with mind, by the conflict of opinion, by 
the zeal of converts, and in the midst of persecution ; 
not by any general plan of operation, or by political 
movement, or by external influence bearing upon the 
country. Such a growth of Catholicism, intellectual, 
gradual, moral, peaceable, and stable, I certainly predicted 
and predict, and such only : yet this, though the fruit of 
free opinion and disputation, is adduced by the Premier 
as an intelligible, as a sufficient, reason for introducing 
a measure of coercion. An intellectual movement must 
be met by Act of Parliament. Can a clearer proof be 
required, that not our political intrigues — for we are 
guilty of none — but our moral and argumentative power, 
is the real object of apprehension and attack : they wish 
to coerce us because we are zealous, and they venture to 
coerce us because we are few. They coerce us for the 
crime of being few, and wishing to be many. They 
coerce us while they can, lest they should not dare to 
coerce, when another twenty years has passed over our 
heads. " Hit him, he"'s down !" this is the cry of the 
Ministry, the country gentlemen, the Establishment, and 
Exeter Hall. Therefore are we ultramontanes ; therefore 
are we aggressive ; this is our conspiracy, that we have 
hearts to desire what we believe the religious welfare of 
others, and heads to compass it. Two centuries ago, all 
England, you know, was in terror about some vast and 
mysterious Popish plot, which was to swallow up the 
whole population, without any one knowing how. What 
does the historian, Hume, — no Catholic, certainly, — say 

a 2 


on the subject ? " Such zeal of proselytism," he observes, 
" actuates that sect" (meaning us), " that its missionaries 
have penetrated into every nation of the globe ; and in 
one sense there is a Popish plot perpetually carrying on 
against all states, Protestant, Pagan, and Mahometan *." 
The simple truth I this is the unvarnished account of the 
matter : we do surpass in zeal every other religion, and 
have done so from the first. But this surely ought to be 
no offence, but a praise : that religion which inspires the 
most enthusiasm, has a right to succeed. If to cherish 
zeal, if to deal the blows of reason and argument, if this 
be political, if this be disloyal, certainly we deserve worse 
punishment than the deportation of one member of Par- 
liament, and the 500/. penalty of another. 

Had indeed the ruling powers of the country, when 
coercion was in their power, refrained from coercion, and 
turned a host of controversialists in upon us instead; 
had a gracious answer come from the Throne in return 
for the loyal address of the Protestant Bishops, com- 
manding them to refute us, and never to enter the royal 
closet again without a tail of twenty converts apiece ; had a 
Parliamentary Committee been appointed to inquire into 
the best means of denying our facts, and unravelling our 
argmnents ; had a reward of some 1000/. been offered for 
our scientific demolition, in Bridgewater Treatise or 
Warburton Lecture, we should have felt gratitude to- 
wai'ds those, who had rather fail in their end, than be 
ungenerous in their measures. But for years and years 
the case has been just the reverse ; they have ever done 
us all the harm that they could, they have not done only 
what they could not. They have only made concessions 

* Charles the Second, ch. G7. 


under the influence of fear. Small thanks for scanty 
favours ; such thanks as Lazarus's, for the rich man's 
crumbs which could not help falling from the table : it is 
no virtue to grant what you cannot deny. Now what is 
the state of the case ? Protestant sects quarrel among 
themselves, they scramble for power, they inflict injuries 
on each other ; then at length they come to think it 
would be well to bear and forbear. They establish the 
great principle of toleration, not at all for our sakes, 
simply for the sake of each other, one and all devoutly 
wishing that tliey could tolerate each other without tole- 
rating us. We, born Britons and members of the body 
politic as much as they, accidentally come under the 
shadow of a toleration which was meant for others. When 
they find that common sense and fairness are too strong 
for them, and they cannot keep us out, and, moreover, 
that it is dangerous to do so, they make a merit of letting 
us in, and they wish us to be grateful for a privilege 
which is our birthright as nmch as it is theirs. 

I know well there is a rising feeling, there are emergent 
parties in this country, far more generous and equitable, 
far more sensible than to deserve these imputations ; but 
I am speaking all along of the dominant faction, and the 
children of the Tradition. As for the latter, it will be 
long before they realize the fact that we are on a .social 
equality with them, and that what is allowable in them- 
selves is allowable in us. At present, it is a matter of 
surprise to them, that we dare to speak a word in our 
defence, and that we are not content with the liberty of 
breathing, eating, moving about, and dying in a Protestant 
soil. That we should have an opinion, that we should 
take a line of our own, that we should dare to convince 
people, that we should move on the offensive, is intolerable 


presumption, and takes away their breath. They think 
themselves martyrs of patience if they can keep quiet in 
our presence, and condescending in the heroic degree, if 
they offer us any lofty civility. So was it the other day, 
when the late agitation began ; the hangers-on of Govern- 
ment said to us, " Cling tight to our coat tails ; we are 
your best friends ; we shall let you off easy ; we shall only 
spit upon you; but beware of those rabid conservatives ;" 
and they marvelled that we did not feel it to be the 
highest preferment for the Catholic Church to wait in the 
antechambers of a political party. So is it with your 
Protestant controversialist, even when he shows to best 
advantage ; his great principle of disputation is that he 
is up, and the Catholic is down; and his great duty 
is to show it. He is intensely conscious that he is in a 
very eligible situation, and his opponent in the gutter ; 
and he lectures down upon him, as if out of a drawing- 
room window. It is against his nature to be courteous to 
those for whom he feels so cordial a disdain, and he can- 
not forgive himself for stooping to annihilate them. He 
mistakes sharpness for keenness, and haughtiness for 
strength ; and never shows so high and mighty in manner 
as when he means to be unutterably conclusive. It is a 
standing rule with him to accuse his opponent of evasion 
and misstatement ; and, when in fault of an argument, he 
always can impugn his motives, or question the honesty 
of his pi'ofessions. So it is with that writer to whom 
Cardinal Wiseman alludes in his late Appeal to the 
English people. The person I speak of is a gentleman 
and a scholar, nay, one of the most distinguished Protes- 
tant theologians of the day ; but that did not hinder him, 
on the occasion alluded to by the Cai'dinal, strutting 
about with indignation that a Catholic should intrude 


himself into the quarrels of the Establishment, and fan- 
cying that rudeness would be an indication of superiority. 
In his title-page, he describes his pamphlet as " a letter 
to N. Wiseman, D.D., calling himself Bishop of Melipo- 
tamus ;" then he addresses him, not " Rev. Sir," but 
" Sir," and talks of its being reported that he has " re- 
ceived the form of episcopal consecration at Rome," and 
tells him this is no excuse for his " acting in opposition 
to his legitimate diocesan, the [Protestant] Bishop of 
Worcester." He proceeds to speak of Dr. Wiseman's 
" characteristic sagacity," and of the " leaders of his 
party ;" reminds him that " in the eyes of his superiors 
the end sanctifies the means," and says that a mistake, 
of which he accuses him, " appears to be not quite unin- 
tentional." He is ever upon stilts, and, as the pamphlet 
proceeds, there is an ever thickening recurrence of such 
rhetoric as " Excuse me. Sir," and " Now, Sir," and 
" Such, Sir," and " But, Sir," and " Yes, Sir," and " No, 
Sir." I should not notice this pamphlet, which is of 
some years'* standing, did I think the writer at all repented 
of its tone, and might not any day publish just such 
another. After all, it is but an instance in detail of 
the Protestant Tradition ; for such has been the received 
style of the Church of England, ever since the days of 
such considerable men as Laud, Taylor, Stillingfleet, and 
Usher. Moreover, it is emphatically the gentlemanlike 
manner of conducting the controversy with us, in contrast 
to that of the pulpit or the platform, when the speaker 
considers himself a sort of theological Van Amberg, 
scares us with his eye, and hits up to and fro with his 

Now for another department of this petty persecution. 
That able writer. Dr. Whately, whom I have already 


quoted in this Lecture, and whom, for the love I bear 
liim, from old memories, in spite of our religious differ- 
ences, I take pleasure in quoting, whenever I can do so 
with any momentary or partial agreement with him, the 
Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, I say, writing on the 
subject of persecution, is led to speak of insult and 
abuse, calumny, ridicule, and blasphemy, as directed by 
the professors of one religion against those of another ; 
and he uses the following remarkable words : " Undoubt- 
edly," he says, " they ought to enjoy this protection, not 
only of their persons and property, but of their comfort 
and feelings also. The State is both authorized and 
bound to prohibit and to guard against, by her own appro- 
priate penalties, not only every thing that may tend to 
a breach of the peace, but also every thing that unne- 
cessarily interferes with the comfort and molests the 
feelings of any one. I say unnecessarily, because it may 
be painful indeed to a man's feelings to have his opinions 
controverted, and to be obliged to encounter opponents ; 
but then, free discussion is necessary for the attainment 
and maintenance of truth. Not so with ridicule and 
insult : to forbid these can be no violation of religious 
liberty, since no man can be bound in conscience to em- 
ploy such weapons : they have manifestly no tendency to 
advance the cause of truth ; they are therefore analogous 
to the slaughter of women and children, and other non- 
belligerents, which is regarded by all civilized nations as 
a violation of the laws of war ; these being unnecessary 
cruelties, since they have no direct tendency to bring the 
war to a conclusion." And then he goes on to say, " It is 
evident that all this reasoning applies with equal force to 
the case of persons of evert/ religious persuasion, whether 
Christians of various sects, or Jews, or Mahometans. 


All of these, though they must be prepared indeed to 
encounter fair argument, should be protected, not only 
from persecution, but from insult, libel, and mochery, as 
occasioning a useless interruption of public or of domestic 
peace and comfort ; and this being an offence against 
society, may justly be prohibited and punished by human 
laws ^" 

Here you \Yill observe, a writer, setting down his 
thoughts on persecution twenty-five years ago, when the 
present state of the controversy was as yet in the womb 
of the future, distinctly tells us that insult, abuse, and 
mockery are inconsistent with religious liberty, and that 
they should be prohibited by law, even as directed 
against Mahometans. Now I accept this sentiment, 
though I will not adopt it without an explanation. I 
consider, then, that in applying it to the existing state 
of things, we must distinguish between religious objects 
and rites, and the persons who acknowledge them. I 
cannot reprobate, in a free country like this, the ridi- 
cule of individuals, whoever they are ; and I think it 
would be a very evil day when it was forbidden. From 
the Queen and Prime Minister to the ephemeral charlatan 
or quack, who astonishes the world with his impudence 
and absurdity, it is desirable that all should be exposed to 
the ridicule of any who choose to make them the objects 
of it. In no other way are various abuses, or encroach- 
ments, or nuisances, or follies, so easily and gently got 
rid of ; it is a most healthy expression of public opinion ; 
it is a safety-valve for feelings, which, if not allowed so 
harmless an escape, might end in a serious explosion. 
Moreover, it is our boast among the nations, that, while 
elsewhere it is dangerous, with us it is positively healthy. 

* Letters on the Churcli, p. 53. 


In France or in Italy I suppose no Government could 
stand against public ridicule ; the Anglo-Saxon is good- 
natured in his satire, and he likes his rulers not at all the 
worse, or rather the better, that he can distort them into 
attitudes, and dress them up in masquerade. And this 
permission must be suffered to extend to the case of per- 
sons who bear a religious profession, as well as that of 
others ; though in this case the line will sometimes be 
difficult to draw. It will be painful indeed to those who 
look up to them, to see one whom they revere, or who is 
associated with what is sacred in their minds, made the 
subject of insult and buffoonery ; as it may be painful to 
the private circle and the living relations of a statesman 
or public man, who undergoes a similar ordeal ; but, as 
matters go in this country, there is no sufficient ground 
for prohibiting, nor much wisdom in complaining. But 
the case is very different when the religious rite is insulted, 
and the individual for the sake of the rite. For ex- 
ample, were England a Catholic country, I can fancy a 
caricature of a fat monk or a fanatical pilgrim being quite 
unobjectionable ; it would argue no disrespect to the re- 
ligion itself, but would be merely a blow at an abuse of 
religion, in the instance of certain individuals who were no 
ornament to it ; on the other hand, in a Protestant land, 
it would or would not be an insult to Catholicism, accord- 
ing to the temper of the moment, in the colouring and 
details of the satire. However, my business is not to 
draw the line between what is allowable and what is un- 
fair as regards ridicule in matters of religion, but merely 
to direct your attention to this point, that I have no wish, 
when it can be helped, to shelter the persons of religious 
men under the sacredness of the religion itself. With 
this explanation, then, in favour of ridicule, I accept Dr. 


Whately's doctrine as reasonable and true ; but consider, 
my Brothers, its application to ourselves. What a re- 
markable light does it cast on the relative position of Pro- 
testants and Catholics in England during the current year ! 
Our author tells us that insult and mockery, in religious 
controversy, is as cowardly and cruel as the slaughter of 
women and children in war, and he presses on us the 
duty of the State to prohibit by penalties such interference 
with the comforts and feelings of individuals ; now, I 
repeat, what a remarkable illustration have Protestants 
supplied to this doctrine of a Protestant divine, since 
Michaelmas last ! The special champions of toleration, 
the jealous foes of persecution, how studiously and con- 
scientiously, during nine long months, have they pi'actised 
what they preached ! What a bright example have they 
set to that religious communion which they hold in such 
abhorrence on the ground of its persecuting spirit ! O 
the one-sided intellect of Protestantism ! I appeal in 
evidence of it to a great banquet, where, amid great ap- 
plause, the first judge of the land spoke of trampling 
Cardinal Wiseman's hat under his feet. I appeal to the 
last fifth of November, when jeers against the Blessed 
Sacrament and its rites were chalked up in the Metro- 
polis with impunity, under the very shadow of the Court, 
and before the eyes of the Home Office and the Police. 
I appeal to the mock processions to ridicule, and bonfires 
to burn, what we hold most venerable and sacred, not 
only Pope, and Cardinal, and Priest, but the very Mother 
of our Lord, and the Crucifix itself. I appeal to those 
ever growing files of newspapers, whose daily task, in 
the tedious succession of months, has been to cater for 
the gross palate of their readers all varieties of disgusting 
gossip, and of bitter reproach, and of extravagant slander, 


and of affronting, taunting, sneering, irritating invective 
against us. I appeal to the buckram nuns of Warwick- 
shire, Nottingham, and Clapham, to the dungeons of 
Edgbaston, and the sin-table of St. Gudule. I appeal to 
the outrageous language perpetrated in a place I will not 
name, where one speaker went the length of saying, what 
the reporters suppressed for fear of consequences, that a 
dear friend and brother of mine, for whose purity and 
honour I would die, mentioning him by name, went about 
the country, as the words came to the ears of those present, 
seducing young women. I appeal to the weekly carica- 
tures, not of persons only and their doings, but of all that 
is held sacred in our doctrines and observances, of our 
rites and ceremonies, our saints and our relics, our sacred 
vestments and our rosaries. I appeal to a popular pub- 
lication, which, witty and amusing in its place, thought 
it well to leave its " sweetness " and its " fatness," to 
chansre make-belief for earnest, to become solemn and 
sour in its jests, and awkwardly to try its hand at divinity, 
because Catholics were the game. I appeal to the cow- 
ardly issue of a cowardly agitation, to the blows dealt in the 
streets of this very town upon the persons of the innocent, 
the tender, and the helpless ; not to any insult or infliction 
which has come upon us, for it is our portion, and we 
have no thought of complaining, but to the ladies and the 
school-girls, who, at various times, up to the day I am 
recording it, because they are Catholics, have been the 
victims of these newspaper sarcasms, and these platform 
blasphemies, I appeal to the stones striking sharply 
upon the one, and the teeth knocked out of the mouths 
of the other. Dr. Whately's words have been almost 
prophetic ; mockery and insult have literally terminated 
in the bodily injury of those non-belligerents, who are 


sacred by the laws of all civilized warfare. Such are some 
of the phenomena of a religion which makes it its special 
boast to be the Prophet of Toleration. 

And in the midst of outrages such as these, my Bro- 
thers of the Oratory, wiping its mouth, and clasping its 
hands, and turning up its eyes, it trudges to the Town 
Hall to hear Dr. Achilli expose the Inquisition. Ah ! 
Dr. Achilli, I might have spoken of him last week, had 
time admitted of it. The Protestant world flocks to 
hear him, because he has something to tell of the Catholic 
Church. He has a something to tell, it is true ; he has 
a scandal to reveal, he Jias an argument to exhibit. It 
is a simple one, and a powerful one, as far as it goes — 
and it is one. That one argument is himself; it is his 
presence which is the triumph of Protestants ; it is the 
sight of him which is a Catholic"'s c^ifusion. It is in- 
deed our great confusion, that our Holy Mother could 
have had a priest like him. He feels the force of the 
argument, and he shows himself to the multitude that is 
gazing on him. " Mothers of families," he seems to say, 
" gentle maidens, innocent children, look at me, for I am 
worth looking at. You do not see such a sight every 
day. Can any church live over the imputation of such 
a production as I am ? I have been a Catholic and an 
infidel ; I have been a Roman priest and a hypocrite ; I 
have been a profligate under a cowl. I am that Father 
Achilli*, who, as early as 1826, was deprived of my faculty 
to lecture, for an offence which my superiors did their 
best to conceal ; and who in 1827 had already earned 
the reputation of a scandalous friar. I am that Achilli, 
who in the diocese of Viterbo in February, 3831, robbed 

» Vid. Dublin Review for July, 1850 ; and Authentic Brief Sketch 
of the Life of Dr. Giacinto Achilli. — Richardsons. 


of her honour a young woman of eighteen : who in Sep- 
tember, 1833, was found guilty of a second such crime, in 
the case of a person of twenty-eight ; and who perpetrated 
a third in July, 1834, in the case of another aged twenty- 
four. I am he, who afterwards was found guilty of sins, 
similar or worse, in other towns of the neighbourhood. I 
am that son of St. Dominic who is known to have repeated 
the offence at Capua, in 1 834 or 1 835 ; and at Naples 
again, in 1 840, in the case of a child of fifteen. I am 
he who chose the sacristy of the church for one of these 
crimes, and Good Friday for another. Look on me, ye 
mothers of England, a confessor against Popery, for ye 
' ne'er may look upon my like again."* I am that veritable 
priest, who, after all this, began to speak against, not 
only the Catholic faith, but the moral law, and perverted 
others by my teacjjing. I am the Cavaliere Achilli, who 
then went to Corfu, made the wife of a tailor faithless to 
her husband, and lived publicly and travelled about with 
the wife of a chorus-singer. I am that Professor in 
the Protestant College at Malta, who with two others 
was dismissed from my post for offences which the au- 
thorities cannot get themselves to describe. And now 
attend to me, such as I am, and you shall see what you 
shall see about the barbarity and profligacy of the 
Inquisitors of Rome." 

You speak truly, O Achilli, and we cannot answer you 
a word. You are a Priest ; you have been a Friar ; 
you are, it is undeniable, the scandal of Catholicism, and 
the palmary argument of Protestants, by your extra- 
ordinary depravity. You have been, it is true, a pro- 
fligate, an unbeliever, and an hypocrite. Not many years 
passed of your conventual life, and you were never in 
choir, always in private houses, so that the laity observed 


you. You were deprived of your professorship, we own 
it ; you were prohibited from preaching and hearing con- 
fessions ; you were obHged to give hush-money to the 
father of one of your victims, as we learn from the official 
report of the Pohce of Viterbo. You are reported in 
an official document of the Neapolitan Police to be 
" known for habitual incontinency ;" your name came be- 
fore the civil tribunal at Corfu for your crime of adultery. 
You have put the crown on your offences, by, as long as 
you could, denying them all ; you have professed to seek 
after truth, when you were ravening after sin. Yes, you 
are an incontrovertible proof, that priests may fall and 
friars break their vows. You are your own witness ; 
but while you need not go out of yourself for your argu- 
ment, neither are you alle. With you the argument 
begins ; with you too it ends : the beginning and the 
ending you are both. When you have shown yourself, 
you have done your worst and your all ; you are your 
best argument and your sole. Your witness against 
others is utterly invalidated by your witness against 
yourself. You leave your sting in the wound : you 
cannot lay the golden eggs, for you are already dead. 

For how, Brothers of the Oratory, can we possibly 
believe a man like this, in what he says about persons, 
and facts, and conversations, and events, when he is of 
the stamp of Maria Monk, of Jeffi'eys, and of Teodore, 
and of others who have had their hour, and then been 
dropped by the indignation or the shame of mankind ? 
What call is there on Catholics to answer what has not 
yet been proved ? what need to answer the evidence of 
one, who has not replied to the Police reports of Viterbo, 
Naples, and Corfu ? He tells me that a Father Inqui- 
sitor said to him, " Another time" that you are " shut 


up in the Inquisition," " you" will not " get away so 
easily^." I do not believe it was said to him. He 
reports that a Cardinal said of him, " We must either 
make him a Bishop, or shut him up in the Inquisition*." 
I do not believe it. He bears witness, that " the 
General of the Dominicans, the oldest of the Inquisitors, 
exclaimed against him before the council, ' This heretic, 
we had better burn him alive ^.'' " I don't believe a word 
of it. " Give up the present Archbishop of Canterbury," 
says he, " amiable and pious as he is, to one of these 
rabid inquisitors; he must either deny his faith, or 
be burned alive. Is my statement false ? Am I 
doting ^ ? " He is not doting, but he is false. " Sup- 
pose I were to be handed over to the tender mercy of 
this Cardinal [Wiseman], and he had full power to dis- 
pose of me as he chose, without losing his character in 

the eyes of the nation, should I not have to un- 

dei'go some death more terrible than ordinary ?" Dr. 
Achilli does not dote ; they dote who listen to him. 

Why do I so confidently assert that he is not to be 
believed? — first, because his life for twenty years past 
creates no prepossession in favour of his veracity : se- 
condly, because during a part of that period, according to 
his own confession, he spoke and argued against doc- 
trines, which at the very time he confessed to be main- 
tained by the communion to which he belonged ; thirdly, 
because he has ventured to deny in the general, what 
official documents prove against him in the particular ; 
fourthly, because he is not simple and clear enough in 
his narrative of facts to inspire any confidence in him ; 
fifthly, because he abounds in misstatements and romance, 

' Dealings with the Inquisition, p. 2. 

s Ibid. p. 27. ^ Ibid. p. 46. 1 Ibid. p. 75. 


as any one will see \Yho knows any thing of the matters 
he is writing about ; sixthly, because he runs counter to 
facts known and confessed by all. 

Indeed, I should not finish my Lecture to-night, my 
Brothers, if I went through the series of historical facts 
which might be detailed in contradiction to the state- 
ments which this author advances, and in proof of the 
utterly false view which Protestants take of the In- 
quisition, and of the Holy See in connexion with it. I 
will set down a few. A recent Catholic controver- 
sialist, a Spanish writer of great name. Dr. Balmez, 
goes so far as to say " that the Roman Inquisition has 
never been known to pronounce the execution of capital 
punishment, although the Apostolic See has been occu- 
pied, during that time, by Popes of extreme rigour and 
sevTerity in all that relates to the civil administration*." — 
" We find," he continues, " in all parts of Europe scaf- 
folds prepared to punish crimes against religion ; scenes 
which sadden the soul, were every where witnessed. 
Rome is an exception to the rule ; — Rome, which it has 
been attempted to represent as a monster of intolerance 
and cruelty .... The Popes, armed with a tribunal of 
intolerance, have not spilt a drop of blood ; Protestants 
and philosophers have shed torrents." Moreover the 
Spanish Inquisition, against which, and not the Roman, 
it is more common to inveigh, though Dr. Achilli writes 
about the Roman, the Spanish Inquisition, which really 
was bloody, is confessed by great Protestant authorities, 
such as Ranke, and Guizot, to have been a political, not 

- Balmez' Protestantism transl., p. 166. — I am rather surprised that 
this is stated so unrestrictedly, vid. Life of St. Philip Neri, vol. i. ; how- 
ever, the fact is substantially as stated, even tliough there were some 
exceptions to the rule. 



an ecclesiastical institution; its officials, though eccle- 
siastics, were " appointed by the crown, responsible to the 
crown, and removable at its pleasure'."" It had indeed been 
originally authorized by the Pope, who, at the instance 
of the civil power, granted it a bull of establishment ; 
but as soon as it began to act, its measures so deeply 
shocked him, that he immediately commenced a series of 
grave remonstrances against its proceedings, and bitterly 
complained that he had been deceived by the Spanish 
Government. The Protestant Ranke distinctly main- 
tains that it was even set up against the Pope and the 
Church. " As the jurisdiction of the Court," he says, 
" rested on the Royal Supremacy, so its exercise was 
made available for the maintenance of the Royal au- 
thority. It is one of those spoliations of the ecclesiastical 
power, by which this government rose into strength .... 
in its nature and its object, it was a purely political 
institute." Moreover, the Pope, anxious and displeased 
at what was going on, appointed a new functionary to 
reside on the spot, with the office of Judge of Appeals 
from the Inquisition, in favour of the condemned ; and 
when this expedient was evaded, he appointed special 
judges for particular cases ; and lastly, when the cruelty 
of the Spanish Government and its officials, lay and 
ecclesiastical, defeated this second attempt to ameliorate 
the evil, then he encouraged the sufferers to flee to 
Rome, where he took them under his own protection *. 

* Vid. an able article in the Dublin Review, June, 1850, — which is 
my authority for this and other facts, 

* Gieseler says that " the Popes at first tried to dratc some odTantage 
from the new Institution by selling [ecclesiastical] absolution for the 
crime of apostasy." — Vol. iii. p. 335. It is easy to throw out such insi- 
nuations as to objects and motives. 


In this way it is recorded, that, in one year, he rescued 
230 persons, and 200 in another. Sometimes he directly 
interfered in Spain itself ; in the beginning of one year 
he liberated fifty heretics ; and fifty more a month or 
two later; three further interpositions of mercy are 
recorded within the year. Sometimes he set aside and 
annulled the judgments passed ; sometimes he managed to 
rescue the condemned from the infamy and civil conse- 
quences of the sentence ; sometimes he actually sum- 
moned, censured, and excommunicated the Inquisitor ; 
and often he took the part of the children of those 
whose property was forfeited to the crown. Moreover 
he refused to allow the Spanish Government to introduce 
their Inquisition into Naples, or the Milanese, which then 
belonged to Spain, from his di^sapprobation of its rigour. 
Such conduct is but in accordance with the historical 
character of the Holy See, in all times and in all countries. 
Doubtless in the long course of eighteen hundred years, 
there are events which need explanation, or which the 
world might wish otherwise : but the general tenor and 
tendency of the traditions of the Papacy, have been mercy 
and humanity. It has ever been less fierce than the 
nations, and in advance of the age : it has ever mode- 
rated, not only the ferocity of barbarians, but the fana- 
ticism of Catholic populations. Let the accusations which 
can be made against it be put in form ; let the formal 
charges be proved ; let the proved offences be counted 
up ; and then Protestants themselves will be able to de- 
termine what judgment is to be passed on the language 
in which they indulge themselves against it. " An actual 
hell," says their present oracle, Dr. A chilli, " seems to be 
at the command of this Church, and it may be known by 
the name of the Inquisition. . . . The Inquisition is truly 

R 2 


a hell, invented by priests. . . . Christianity suffers more 
now than in former times under this harsh slavery \" 
The Inquisition, it seems, is a hell ; then there are many 
other hells in the world present and past, and worse hells, 
though this is the only one of which Dr. Achilli has had 
experience. He, indeed, may be excused for not know- 
ing that in his reprobation of the Inquisition, he is 
secretly reflecting upon the nation, at whose good opinion 
he is aiming ; but Protestants, had they the caution of 
ordinary disputants, would have known better than to 
accept a field of controversy, far less dangerous to their 
enemy than to themselves. Judgment and justice, like 
charity, begin at home : and before they commiserate 
culprits two thousand miles away, they would do well to 
feel some shame at victims of their own making. They 
are shocked, forsooth, at religious ascendancy and reli- 
gious coercion at Rome ; as if the ideas and the things 
were foreign to a British soil and a British policy. The 
name alone of the Inquisition, says Dr. Achilli, " is 
sufficient to incite in the minds of all rational beings, a 
sentiment of horror and repugnance, little inferior to 
what Christians experience with respect to hell itself ^" 
A true word ! what is the Inquisition hut a name I what 
is the Court of Queen'^s Bench but a name ? why should 
not, in this matter, the names be interchanged ? what 
has the Inquisition done at Rome, which the Royal name 
and authority has not done in England ? The question 
is, not what a tribunal is called, but what has been its 
work. Dr. Achilli has been imprisoned by the Inquisi- 
tion, for preaching in Rome against the religion of Rome : 
and has no one ever been put in prison, or fined, or 

* Inquisition, pp. 5. 11. " Inquisition, p. 5. 


transported, or doomed to death in England, for preach- 
ing against the religion of England ? Those adversaries, 
indeed, of Catholicism, pleaded that Catholicism was 
rebeUion : and has Dr. Achilli had nothing to do with a 
party, not only dangerous, but actually and contempo- 
raneously subversive of the Pontifical Government ? It 
seems never to occur to a Protestant, that he must not 
do in his own case what he blames in another ; and should 
he at any time leave off a practice, he is surprised every 
one else has not loft it off at the same moment, and he 
has no mercy on any that has not ; hke converted pro- 
digals, who are sternly unforgiving towards the vices 
they have only just abandoned. 

It is in my own memory, that a popular writer was con- 
victed in the King''s Bench, and sentenced to fine and 
imprisonment, for parodying passages of the Protestant 
Prayer Book. It is within my own memory, that an un- 
believer in Christianity incurred a similar sentence, for ex- 
posing and selling his publications in a shop in Fleet-street. 
Why is Protestantism to be protected by law, if Catholi- 
cism is not ? What has the Inquisition done to Dr. Achilli, 
which the King's Bench did not do, and more, to Hone and 
Carlyle ? Why is that so shocking to-day, which came so 
natural to you thirty years ago ? Not many years have 
passed since Unitarian worship was a legal offence ; the 
Unitarian creed was felony, and Unitarian congrega- 
tions incurred the penalty of transportation. " If the 
civil magistrate," says Dr. Whately, " have no rightful 
jurisdiction whatever in religious concerns, it is quite as 
much an act of injustice, though of far less cruelty, to 
fine a Socinian, as to burn hiniV Nor was burning 

' Letters on tlie Church, p 42. 


away ; five men were burnt in Elizabeth's reign for 
denying the Holy Trinity, of whom the Protestant 
Bishop of Norwich burnt three. In the next reign, the 
Protestant Bishop of London burnt one, and the Protes- 
tant Bishop of Lichfield another. A third was sen- 
tenced, but the compassion of the people saved him. 
Catholics have fared even worse ; they have not, indeed, 
been burned, but they have been tortured, hung^. cut 
down alive, cut open alive, quartered, and boiled. Nay, 
it is only quite lately, that heavy penal inflictions have 
been taken off the daily acts of our religion. Many of 
us, my Brothers, as you know well, wear about us crosses, 
pictures, medals, beads, and the like, blessed by the 
Pope ; they are still illegal ; an Agnus Dei is still illegal. 
Nay, five years have not fully passed, since the bringing 
them into the kingdom, and the giving them away, and 
the receiving and wearing them, were punishable, by out- 
lawry, in civil matters, forfeiture of all goods and chattels 
to the Queen, and imprisonment for life. Yet the 
British Constitution is the wonder of the world, and 
Rome is Antichrist ! Nor has this prohibition been at 
all times an empty menace, as it is to-day : time was, when 
it was followed out into its extreme consequences. The 
possession of an Agnus Dei was the foremost charge in 
the indictment brought against the first of our martyrs 
among the Missionary Priests in the reign of bloody 
Elizabeth. " As soon as the Sheriff came into the 
chamber," say the Acts of the martyrdom of Cuthbert 
Maine, " he took Mr. Maine by the bosom, and said 
to him. What art thou? he answered, I am a man. 
Whereat the Sheriff, being very hot, asked if he had a 
coat of mail under his doublet ; and so unbuttoned it, 
and found an Agnus Dei case about bis neck, which he 


took from him, and called him traitor and rebel, with 
many other opprobrious names \" Maine was hanged, 
cut down alive, falling from a great height, and then quar- 
tered. He was the first fruit of a sanguinary persecu- 
tion, which lasted a hundred years. John Wilson, while 
his heart was being torn out, said, " I forgive the Queen, 
and all that are the cause of my death." Edward Cam- 
pion was cruelly torn and rent upon the rack divers times. 
" Before he went to the rack, he used to fall down at the 
rack-house door, upon both knees, to commend himself 
to God's mercy ; and upon the rack he called continually 
upon God, repeating often the holy name of Jesus. His 
keeper asking him the next day, how he felt his hands 
and feet, he answered, ' Not ill, because not at all.' 
He was hanged and embowelled at Tyburn." Ralph 
Sherwin came next ; the hangman, taking hold of him 
with his bloody hands, which had been busy with the 
bowels of the martyred priest who preceded him, said to 
him, thinking to terrify him, " Come, Sherwin, take thou 
also thy wages." But the holy man, nothing dismayed, 
embraced him with a cheerful countenance, and reve- 
rently kissed the blood that stuck to his hands ; at which 
the people were much moved. He had been twice racked, 
and now he was dealt with as his brother before him. 
Thomas Sherwood, after six months' imprisonment in a 
dark and filthy hole, was hanged, cut down alive, dis- 
membered, bo welled, and quartered. Alexander Brian had 
needles thrust under his nails, was torn upon the rack, 
hanged, and beheaded. George Haydock was suffered to 
hang but a very little while, when the Sheriff ordered the 
rope to be cut, and the whole butchery to be performed 

* Cliallonei-'s Missionary Priests. 


upon him while he was alive, and perfectly sensible. 
John Finch was dragged through the streets, his head 
beating all the way upon the stones ; was then thrust 
into a dark and fetid dungeon, with no bed but the damp 
floor ; was fed sparingly, and on nothing but oxen's liver. 
Here he was left first for weeks, then for months ; till at 
length he was hanged, and his quarters sent to the four 
chief towns of Lancashire. Richard White, being cut 
down alive, pronounced the sacred name of Jesus, twice, 
while the hangman had his hands in his bowels. James 
Claxton, was first put into little ease, that is, a place 
where he could neither stand, lie, nor sit ; there he was 
for three days, fed on bread and water. Then he was 
put into the mill to grind ; then he was hanged up by the 
hands, till the blood sprang forth at his fingers'" ends : 
at length he was hanged, dying at the age of twenty-one 
years. These are the acts, these are the scenes, which 
Protestants, stopping their ears, and raising their voices, 
and casting dust into the air, will not let us inflict upon 
them. No, it is pleasanter to declaim against perse- 
cution, and to call the Inquisition a hell, than to consider 
their own devices, and the work of their own hands. The 
catalogue reaches to some hundred names. One was 
killed in this manner in 1577, two in 1578, four in 1581, 
eleven in 1582, thirteen in 158.3 and 1584, nineteen in 
1585 and 1586, thirty-nine in 1587 and 1588, and so on 
at intervals to the end of the seventeenth century ; be- 
sides the imprisonments and transportations, which can 
hardly be numbered ". What will the Protestants bring 

^ " If you talk to me of the intolerance of Rome, or the horrors of the 
Inquisition," says Mr. Moore, M.P. for Mayo, in a late letter to the 
" Times" about Ireland, " I can submit to your inspection the original 


against the Holy See comparable to atrocities such as 
these? not, surely, with any fairness, the burnings in 
Queen Mary's reign, the acts, as they were, of an English 
party, inflamed with revenge against their enemies, and 
opposed by Cardinal Pole, the Pope"'s Legate, as well as 
by the ecclesiastics of Spain. 

My time is run out. Brothers of the Oratory, before 
my subject is exhausted. One remark I will make in 
conclusion. The horroi'S I have been describing are no 
anomaly in the history of Protestantism. Whatever 
theoretical differences it has had on this subject with ihc 
Catholic Religion, it has in matter of fact ever shown 
itself a persecuting power. It has persecuted in England, 
in Scotland, in Ireland, in Holland, in France, in Ger- 
many, in Geneva. Calvin burnt a Socinian, Cranmer an 
Anabaptist, Luther advised the wholesale murder of the 
fanatical peasants, and Knox was party to bloody enact- 
ments and bloody deeds. You would think that with 
scandals such as these at their door, Protestants would 
find it safest to let history alone, and not meddle with 
the question of persecution at all, from a lively conscious- 
ness of deeds identical with those which they impute to 
the Catholic Church. Not a bit of it. What then is 
their view of the matter ? Strange to say, they make it 
their plea of exculpation, and the actual difference be- 
tween Catholics and them, that they condemn persecution 
in principle ; in other words, they bring their own incon- 
sistency as the excuse for their crime. Now I grant 
them, I am far from disputing it, that a man who holds a 

of aw Act of Parliament, passed unanimously by a whole Protestant Legis- 
lature, bishops and all, which subjected the whole priesthood of a whole 
people to obscene and horrible mutilation." 


right principle, and occasionally, nay, often, offends against 
it, is better than he who holds the opposite wrong prin- 
ciple, and acts consistently upon it ; but that is not the 
present case. The case before us is that of persons who 
never once have acted on the principle they profess — 
never once ; for they cannot produce their instance, when 
Protestants, of whatever denomination, were in posses- 
sion of national power for any sufficient time, without 
persecuting some or other of their polemical antagonists. 
So it has been, so it is now. Three centuries ago Pro- 
testantism in England set off on its course with murder- 
iiTg Catholic priests ; but a few months have passed since 
a clergyman of the Establishment gave out to his con- 
gregation that transportation was too good for us, and he 
thought we all ought to be put to death. So far from the 
Protestant party feeling any real shock at this avowal, a 
little while after, a second clergyman, as influential in 
Manchester as the first mentioned is in Liverpool, re- 
peated the sentiment ; and still no shock or sensation in 
the Protestant public was the result. Doubtless they 
gave their reasons for wishing it, sufficient in their own 
judgment, and so too did the Protestant Elizabeth, so 
too did Gardiner and the other advisers of the Catholic 
Mary ; but still such was the upshot of their reasons, 
death to every Catholic Priest. The present case then 
is not that of an individual, or a ruler, or a body politic 
laying down a good principle, and not being able at times 
and under circumstances, through passion or policy, to 
act up to it ; no, it is the case of a religion saying one 
thing, and on every actual and possible occasion doing 
another. Can such a religion extenuate its acts on the 
ground of its professions ? Yet this is the excuse, nay, 
this is the boast, the glory, of the Protestant party : — 


" We always do one thing, and we always say another ; 
we always preach peace, but we always make war; we 
have the face of a lamb, and the claws of a dragon. And 
we have another boast ; to be sure, we persecute, but 
then, as a set off, you see, we always denounce in others 
what we are in the practice of doing ourselves ; this is 
our second great virtue. Observe, we, persecutors, pro- 
test against persecution, — virtue one ; next, we, perse- 
cutors, blacken and curse the Papists for persecuting, — 
virtue two ; and now for a third virtue — why, we are so 
superlatively one-sided, that we do not ftven see our own 
utter inconsistency in this matter, and we deny, to use a. 
vulgar but expressive proverb, that what is sauce for the 
goose is sauce for the gander. We think that profession 
and denunciation make up a good Christian, and that we 
may persecute freely, if we do but largely quote Scripture 
against it.*" 

And now I might leave Protestants to explain this 
matter if they can, and to unravel the mystery how it is 
that, after all their solemn words against persecution, they 
have persecuted, as I have shown, whenever, wherever, 
and however they could, from Elizabeth down to Victoria, 
from the domestic circle up to the Legislature, from black 
looks to the extremity of the gibbet and the stake ; I 
might leave them, but I am tempted to make them one 
parting suggestion. I observe, then, it is no accident 
that they unite in their history this abjuration with this 
practice of religious coercion ; the two go together. I say 
it boldly and decidedly, and do not flinch from the avowal, 
— Protestants attempt too much, and they end in doing 
nothing. They go too far ; they attempt what is against 
nature, and therefore impossible. I am not proving this ; 
it is a separate subject ; it would require a treatise. I 


am only telling the Protestant world why it is they ever 
persecute, in spite of their professions. It is because 
their doctrine of private judgment, as they hold it, is 
extreme and unreal, and necessarily leads to excesses 
in the opposite direction. They are attempting to re- 
verse nature, with no warrant for doing so ; and nature 
has its ample revenge upon them. They altogether 
ignore a principle which the Creator has put into our 
breasts ; and, in consequence, they deprive themselves of 
the opportunity of controlling, restraining, and directing 
it. So was it with the actors in the first French Kevo- 
lution : never were there such extravagant praises of the 
rights of reason ; never so signal, so horrible a profana- 
tion of them. They cried, " Liberty, Equality, Frater- 
nity," and then proceeded to massacre the priests, and to 
hurry the laity by thousands to the scaffold or the 

Far other is the wisdom of the Church. It is plain, if 
only to prevent the occurrence of persecution, she must — 
to use a phrase of the day — head a movement, which it is 
impossible to suppress. And in the course of eighteen hun- 
dred years, though her children have been guilty of various 
excesses, though she herself is responsible for isolated 
acts of most solemn import, yet for one deed of severity 
with which she can be charged, there have been a hun- 
dred of her acts, repressive of the persecutor and pro- 
tective of his victims. She has been a never-failing 
fount of humanity, equity, forbearance, and compassion, 
in consequence of her very recognition of natural im- 
pulses and instincts, which Protestants would vainly deny 
and contradict : and this is the solution of the paradox 
stated by the distinguished author I just now quoted, 
to the effect, that the religion which forbids private judg- 


ment in matters of revelation, is historically more tole- 
rant than the religions which uphold it. His words 
will bear repetition : " We find, in all parts of Europe, 
scaffolds prepared to punish crimes against religion ; 
scenes which sadden the soul were every where witnessed. 
Rome is one exception to the rule ; Rome, which it has 
been attempted to represent as a monster of intolerance 
and cruelty. It is true, that the Popes have not preached, 
like the Protestants, universal toleration ; but the facts 
show the difference between the Protestants and the 
Popes. The Popes, armed with a tribunal of intole- 
rance, have scarce spilt a drop of blood ; Protestants 
and philosophers have shed it in torrents \'" 

> Since this Lecture lias been in type, I have been sliown De Maistre's 
Letters on the Inquisition, anil am pleased to see that in some places I 
have followed so great a writer. 

\_Lectures on the Present Position of Catholicism in 
England^ hy the Rev. J. H. Newman, D.D.] 



In attributing the extreme aversion and contempt m 
which we CathoUcs are held by this great Protestant 
country, to the influence of falsehood and misrepresen- 
tation, energetic in its operation and unbounded in its 
extent, I believe in my heart I have referred it to a 
cause, which will be acknowledged to be both real and 
necessary by the majority of thoughtful and honest 
minds. Catholics or not, who set themselves to examine 
the state of the case. Take an educated man, who has 
seen the world, and interested himself in the religious 
bodies, disputes, and events of the day, let him be ever 
so ill-disposed towards the Catholic Church, yet I think, 
if he will but throw his mind upon the subject, and then 
candidly speak out, he will confess that the arguments 
which lead him to his present state of feeling about her, 
whatever they are, would not be sufficient for the multi- 
tude of men. The multitude, if it is to be arrested and 
moved, requires altogether a difterent polemic from that 


which is at the command of the man of letters, of thought, 
of feehng, and of honour. His proofs against Catho- 
licism, though he considers them sufficient himself, and 
considers that they ought to be sufficient for the mul- 
titude, have a sobriety, a delicacy, an exactness, a nice 
adjustment of parts, a width and breadth, a philosophical 
cumulativeness, an indirectness and circuitousness, which 
will be lost on the generality of men. The problem is, 
how to make an impression on those who have never 
learned to exercise their minds, to compare thought with 
thought, to analyse an argument, or to balance proba- 
bilities. The Catholic Church appeals to the imagina- 
tion, as a great fact, wherever she comes ; she strikes it ; 
Protestants must find some idea equally captivating as 
she is, something fascinating, something capable of pos- 
sessing, engrossing, and overwhelming, if they are to 
battle with her hopefully : their cause is lost, unless they 
can do this. It was then a thought of genius, and, as I 
think, superhuman genius, to pitch upon the expedient 
which has been used against the Church from Christ's 
age to our own ; to call her, as in the first century, 
Beelzebub, so in the sixteenth, Anti-Christ ; it was a bold, 
politic, and successful move. It startled men who heard ; 
and, whereas Anti-Christ by the very notion of his cha- 
racter will counterfeit Christ, he will therefore be neces- 
sarily like Him ; and if Anti-Christ is like Christ, then 
Christ, I suppose, must be like Anti-Christ ; thus there 
was, even at first start, a felicitous plausibility about the 
charge, which went far towards securing belief, while it 
commanded attention. 

This, however, though much, was not enough ; the 
charge that Christ is Anti-Christ must be sustained; 
and sustained it could not possibly be, in the vastness 


and enormity of its idea, as I have described it, by means 
of truth. Falsehood then has ever been the indis- 
pensable condition of the accusation which Protestants 
prefer ; and the accusation they prefer is the indis- 
pensable weapon wherewith to encounter the antagonist 
whom they combat. Thus you see that calumny and 
obloquy of every kind is, from the nature of the case, 
the portion of the Church, while she has enemies, that is 
in other words, while she is militant, — her portion, that 
is, if she is to be argued with at all ; and argued with 
she must be, because man from his very moral consti- 
tution cannot content himself, in his warfare of whatever 
kind, with the use of brute force. The lion rends his 
prey, and gives no reason for doing so ; but man cannot 
persecute without assigning to himself a reason for his 
act ; he must settle it with his conscience ; he must 
have sufi&cient reasons, and if good reasons are not forth- 
coming, there is no help for it ; he must put up with 
bad. How to conflict with the moral influence of the 
Church, being taken as the problem to be solved, nothing 
is left but to misstate and defame ; there is no alterna- 
tive. Tame facts, elaborate inductions, subtle presump- 
tions, will not avail with the many ; something which 
will cut a dash, something gaudy and staring is the rhe- 
toric in request ; he must make up his mind then to resign 
the population to the action of the Catholic Church, or 
he must slander her to her greater confusion. This, I 
maintain, is the case ; this, I consider, must be the case ; 
— bad logic, false facts ; and I really do think that 
candid men, of whatever persuasion, though they will 
not express themselves exactly in the words I have used, 
will agree with me in substance ; will allow, that, putting 
aside the question whether Protestantism can be sup- 

s 2 


ported by any other method than controversy, for in- 
stance, by simple establishment, or by depriving Catholics 
of education, or by any other violent expedient, still, if 
popular controversy is to be used, then fable, not truth, 
calumny, not justice, will be its staple. Strip it of its 
fallacies and its fictions, and where are you ? It is no 
accident then that we are the victims of slander. 

So much in corroboration of what I have said in former 
Lectures ; but I have not yet stated the full influence in 
the controversy, or (as it may be called) virtue, of this 
system of mierepresentation. The question may have 
occurred to you, my Brothers, as a philosophical difficulty, 
how it is that able, cultivated, enlarged minds should, not 
only be the organs of the grossest slanders about us, but 
should refuse to retract them, when they are absolutely 
silenced and exposed. The very courtesy of civilized life 
demands from them a retractation ; it is the rule among 
gentlemen that, even when an accuser adheres in his 
heart to what he has advanced against another, yet on that 
other''s denying it, he accepts the denial and withdraws 
his words. It is otherwise in the contest with Catholics; 
when we deny what is charged against our character or 
conduct, and deny it with irresistible arguments, we not 
only have reason to desiderate that outward consideration 
which the laws of society enforce, but probably are bluntly 
told that we lie, and there we are left, and the matter too. 
Doubtless this phenomenon is traceable in part to that 
characteristic of the human kind, noticed by philoso- 
phers, to crouch to what is in the ascendant, and to in- 
sult what is down in the world ; but it partly arises from 
a cause to which I have not yet referred, and which I 
mean to make the subject of this Lecture. This cause 
is so obvious, that you may wonder I am so circuitous in 


introducing it, and why T have not treated of it before ; 
but it properly comes in this place. I alhide to the 
power of prejudice, which is to be considered a principal 
reason why our most triumphant refutations of the facts 
and arguments urged against us by our enemies avail us 
so Httle ; for, in reality, those facts and arguments have 
already done their work before their demolition arrives, 
which work their demolition has no tendency to undo, by 
impressing the minds of the persons who have heard and 
have used them with Sk prejudice against us. 

Now, first I must explain what prejudice is, and how 
it is produced, before I go on to consider its operation. 
Prejudice, you know', means properly a pre-judgment, or 
judgment by anticipation ; a judgment which is formed 
prior to the particular question submitted to us, yet is 
made to bear upon it. Thus, if a man is accused of theft, 
and I already believe him to be an habitual thief, I am 
naturally led to think that this particular charge is well- 
founded, before going into the evidence which is actually 
adducible for it. In this way, previous good or bad name 
has so much to do with the decision in courts of justice ; 
slight evidence will be enough to convict a reputed thief ; 
on the other hand, a person under accusation, in order to 
repel it, brings witnesses to his character. When we 
have this previous knowledge of persons, we say, — should 
their actions or they themselves come under considera- 
tion, — on the one hand, that we cannot help being " pre- 
judiced " against one, and on the other, " prejudiced " or 
"prepossessed''' in favour oi BXioiher. Now there is no- 
thing unfair in all this ; what is past naturally bears on 
the future ; from what has been we conjecture what will 
be ; it is reasonable and rational to do so ; and hence, 
jiersons who have all their lives long heard nothing but 


bad of Catholics, naturally and fairly entertain a bad 
opinion of them ; and when a new charge is made against 
them, are disposed to credit it without stopping to con- 
sider the evidence. And it matters not, whether the 
previous judgment, which influences their belief, be a 
judgment of their own forming, or be inherited ; let it be 
the tradition of their country ; still there is nothing 
strange, there is nothing wrong, in their being influenced 
by it. 

But then observe this : — after all, a previous judgment, 
conclusion, or belief such as this, in which consists their 
prejudice, is but vague and general ; it is not more than 
an opinion or inference, of greater or less strength, as 
the case may be, and varying with the trustworthiness of 
the reasons or testimony which has created it. It cannot 
reasonably, and must not be taken, as infallible ; did the 
persons in question so simply rest upon it, that they 
would not hear what could be said on the other side, as 
if they were quite sure nothing could be said to the pur- 
pose, they would cease to act rationally, they would be 
simply obstinate. And this is prejudice in its bad and 
culpable sense, the sense in which the word is commonly 
used, and in which I am using it here, and am imputing 
it to Protestants. I accuse them of making too much 
of the Tradition which has come down to them ; they 
not only take it at first sight as true, and act upon it as 
true (a proceeding against which nothing can fairly be 
said), but they put such implicit confidence in it, that 
they cannot bring themselves to hear what can be said on 
the other side. They make the Tradition practically infal- 
lible, as if it had settled the view they are to take of the 
subject of it, once for all and for ever. 

How can any one, you will say, act so absurdly, who 


has any pretension to good sense and good feeling I it may 
happen in a measure to any one of us, and in the follow- 
ing way. Now I hope I shall not be taxing your atten- 
tion, my Brothers, more than I have a right to do on an 
occasion such as this, in what I am going to say in expla- 
nation. Prejudice then is something more than an act 
of judgment ; it is not a mere act, it is a habit or state 
of mind. I must refer to a peculiarity, not of the 
English character, but of our mental constitution gene- 
rally. When, then, we hear a thing said again and 
again, it makes what may be called an impression upon 
us. We not only hold it in our mind as an opinion or 
belief, as separate from us, and depending on the in- 
formation or grounds on which we have received it, 
and as admitting of being thrown off the next minute 
at our will, if we have reasons for discarding it, but it 
has acted upon our mind itself, it has sunk into it, it has 
impressed it. No longer at our disposal as before, to 
keep or throw away, it becomes one of our habitual and 
invariable modes of judging and believing, something like 
the ideas we have of good and evil, and of religious duty. 
The idea, for instance, that justice is a virtue, or that 
there is a Divine Being, is imprinted in our minds ; it is 
congenial to our nature, and true, and that, because it is 
found in all times and places, with exceptions too rare or 
inconsiderable to be worth noticing. Such an idea, I say, 
is true ; still there may also be impressions, similar in 
permanence, which yet are false and uncongenial to our 
nature, and they are characterized first in not being 
common to all ; next, in not being found in the mind 
from the first (if I may so speak), not coming thither no 
one knows how, that is, from heaven itself, but formed in 
us by the accidental occurrence of things we have seen or 


heard, and another has not. These impressions are com- 
monly created in the mind by the repetition of something 
striking it froin without. A fact or argument is not 
stronger in its own nature by being repeated ; but the effect 
on any mind, which is passive under the infliction, is 
stronger and stronger every time it is repeated. In this 
way almost any idea whatever may be impressed on the 
mind ; a man will begin at length to think himself a fool or 
a knave, if every one tells him so. This then is what the 
perpetual talk against Catholicism is doing against it in 
England ; the clatter does not become truer because it is 
incessant ; but it continually deepens the impression in the 
minds of those who hear it, that Catholicism is an impos- 
ture. I say, there is no increase of logical cogency ; a lie 
is a lie just as much the tenth time it is told as the first, 
or rather more ; it is ten lies instead of one ; but it gains 
in rhetorical influence. Let it be repeated again and 
again ; it matters not ; the utterer has only to go on 
steadily proclaiming it, and first one, then another will 
begin to believe it, and at length it will assume the shape 
of a very respectable fact or opinion, which is held by a 
considerable number of well-informed persons. This is 
what is meant by the proverb, Fling dirt enough, and 
some will stick. And if even one pertinacious slanderer 
has the prospect of such success in his slander, from this 
peculiarity of our nature, what must be the effect when 
vast multitudes of men are ever crying out to each other, 
with unwearied and sleepless energy, fables and fallacies 
against the Catholic religion ? Why, each is convincing 
the other, and deepening the hostile impression in his 
mind with a keenness and precision which it is appalling 
to contemplate ; and thus the meetings and preachings 
which are ever going on against us on all sides, though 


they may have no argumentative force whatever, are still 
immense factories for the creation of prejudice, — an ar- 
ticle, by means of these exertions, more carefully elabo- 
rated, and more lasting in its texture, than any specimens 
of hardware, or other material productions, which are the 
boast of a town such as this is. 

Now the peculiarity of these mental impressions is, that 
they do not depend afterwards upon the facts or reasonings 
by which they were produced, any more than a blow, when 
once given, depends on the stone or the stick which gave 
it. To burn the stick will not salve the sore : and to 
demolish the argument, as I have already said, does not 
obliterate the prejudice. Suppose I have been told that 
my neighbour is a thief; suppose the idea has rested 
on my mind, and I have accustomed myself to it ; and 
suppose I hear what it was that made my informant 
assert it, and examine into it, and find it is utterly un- 
true : why I may cast off my feeling against my neighbour 
at once and altogether, but I may have a difficulty in 
doing so. The idea may still cling to me, and I may find 
it impossible, except by degrees, to overcome the associ- 
ations with which he is connected in my mind, and the 
repugnance I feel to him ; there is something I have to 
struggle against. And thus, even though a slander be 
perfectly cleared up, even though it be brought into a 
court of justice, and formally disconnected from the per- 
son who has been the victim of it, he is not what he was. 
It was a saying of the greatest of the Romans, that 
" Ca5sar''s wife should not be suspected." The slander 
has, as it were, stained the minds of the hearers, and only 
time, if even time, can wipe it out. This, then, is pro- 
perly a prejudice, not an opinion which is at our own 
disposal, and dependent for its presence or its dismissal 


on our will, but an impression, which reason indeed can 
act upon, and the will can subdue, but only by degrees and 
with trouble. It sunk into the mind by the repetition of 
untrue representations ; it must be effaced by an opposite 
process, by a succession of thoughts and deeds anta- 
gonist to it. We must make it up to the injured party 
by acts of kindness, by friendly services, by good words, 
by praising him, by the desire and attempt to please him 
and honour him, and thus gradually we shall lose all 
recollection of our former hard thoughts of him : on the 
other hand, it is quite possible to shut ourselves up in 
ourselves ; to keep at a distance from him, and to cherish 
coldness or ill-will ; and then, in spite of the calumnies 
having been triumphantly refuted, and of our nominal 
acquiescence, we shall be as suspicious or jealous as ever. 
We shall say that we are not, after all, satisfied ; that 
we cannot, indeed, give our grounds, but that things have 
a suspicious appearance ; and we look about diligently for 
some fresh ground of accusation against him, to justify 
us in such thoughts and such conduct. 

Now you may recollect, Brothers of the Oratory, that, 
in speaking of prejudice in its first and most simple sense, 
as a mere anticipation or previous opinion in disparage- 
ment of another, I said there was no harm in it. It is a 
mere judgment formed on previous grounds, like any 
judgment, which the owner puts away at once, as soon as 
its unsoundness is detected. But prejudice, in its second 
and ordinary sense, in which I have now for some time 
been using it, viz. as an impression or stain on the mind, 
is not at all innocent or excusable, just the reverse. 
This may surprise you ; you may say. How can a man 
help his impressions ? he is passive under them ; they 
come of themselves ; he is as little answerable for what 


is actually stamped upon his mind, as for a wound which 
is inflicted on his body : but this is very far from the case, 
as a little consideration will show. The will goes with a 
prejudice ; there is no compulsion or necessity ; those 
who have prejudices are unwilling to give them up ; 
there is no prejudice without the will : we are prejudiced, 
I say, because we will ; and therefore, if we did not will, 
we should not be prejudiced, I do not say we could get 
rid of a prejudice in a day ; but we should, in that case, 
be tending to get rid of it. Scripture speaks of those 
who " loved darkness rather than light :" and it is im- 
possible for us to deny, from what we see on all sides, 
that as regards the Protestant view of Catholics, men 
love to be left to their own dark thoughts of us ; they 
desire to be able with good reason and a good conscience 
to hate us : they do not wish to be disabused, they are 
loth that so pleasant an error should be torn from them. 
First, then, I say, that prejudice depends on the will : 
now, secondly, if it does depend on the will, it is not, 
cannot be, innocent, because it is directed, not against 
things, but against persons, against God's rational crea- 
tures, against our fellows, towards all of whom we owe 
the duties of humanity and charity. There is a natural 
law, binding us to think as well as we can of every one ; 
we ought to be glad when imputations are removed, and 
scandals cleared up. And this law is observed by every 
generous mind : such a person is pained to believe that 
bad things can be said of others with any plausibility, 
and will rejoice to be able to deny them — will hope they 
are not true, and will give the subject of them the benefit 
of his doubts. Every hour, then, as it passes, bears with 
it protests against prejudice, from the natural striving of 
the heart the other way. Jealousy, suspicion, dislike. 


thinking ill, are feelings so painful to the rightly dis- 
posed, that there is a constant reclamation going on 
within them, an uneasiness that they should be obliged 
to entertain them, and an effort to get rid of thera. Nay, 
there are persons of such kind and tender hearts, that 
they would believe there is no evil at all in the world if 
they could : and it is a relief to them whenever they can 
knock off, so to say, any part of the score of accusations 
which the multitude of men bring against each other. On 
the other hand, to close the ears to an explanation, and 
to show a desire that the worst may be true, — unless in- 
deed the innocence of the individual who at present lies 
under a cloud involves the guilt of a vast many others 
instead, so that one has to strike a balance of crimes, — 
I say, to resolve that rumours or suspicions, for which no 
distinct grounds are alleged, shall be true, is simple male- 
volence, deplorable, shocking, inexcusable. 

I do not know how any one can deny the justice of 
these remarks ; but observe what a melancholy comment 
they form on the treatment which Catholics receive in 
this Protestant country. Where are the tender hearts, 
the kind feelings, the upright understandings of our 
countrymen and countrywomen ? where is the generosity 
of the Briton, of which from one's youth up one has been 
so proud ? where is his love of fair play, and his com- 
passion for the weak, and his indignation at the oppressor, 
when we are concerned? The most sensible people on 
earth, the most sensitive of inconsistency, the most 
ambitious of propriety and good taste, would rather 
commit any weakness, and incongruity — would rather 
make fun, as they do, for the whole world by their con- 
duct, than be betrayed into any portion — I will not say 
of justice, I will not say of humanity and mercy, but of 


simple reasonableness and common sense, in their be- 
haviour to the professors of the Catholic Religion ; so 
much so, that to state even drily and accurately what 
they do daily, is to risk the blame of ridicule and satire, 
which, if any where, would be simply gratuitous and 
officious in this matter, where truth most assuredly, 
" when unadorned," is " adorned the most.'"' This I 
cannot help; but, observe, that nothing I have said, or 
shall say, is levelled at the objects or the rites of Protes- 
tant worship. I am concerned with Protestants them- 
selves ; moreover not with Protestants quiescent and 
peaceable, but with Protestants malevolent, belligerent, 
busy and zealous in an aggression upon our character and 
conduct. We do not treat them with suspicion, contempt, 
and aversion : this is their treatment of us : our only 
vengeance, surely it is not a great one, is to make a 
careful analysis of that treatment. 

The Prejudiced Man, then — for thus I shall personify 
that superincumbent quality which energizes and operates 
so widely and so unweariedly in the Protestant commu- 
nity — the prejudiced man takes it for granted, or feels an 
undoubting persuasion, not only that he himself is in 
possession of divine truth, for this is a matter of opinion, 
and he has a right to his own, but that we, who differ 
from him, are universally impostors, tyrants, hypocrites, 
cowards, and slaves. This is a first principle with him ; 
it is like divine faith in the Catholic, nothing can shake 
it. If he meets with any story against Catholics, on any 
or no authority, which does but fall in with his notion of 
them, he eagerly catches at it. Authority goes for no- 
thing; likelihood, as he considers it, does instead of 
testimony ; what he is now told is just what ho expected. 
Perhaps it is a random report, put into circulation, 


merely because it had a chance of succeeding, or thrown 
up like a straw to the wind ; perhaps it is a mere pub- 
lisher's speculation, who thinks that a narrative of hor- 
rors will pay well for the printing : it matters not, he is 
perfectly convinced of its truth ; he knew all about it 
beforehand ; it is just what he always has said ; it is the 
old tale over again a hundred times. Accordingly he 
buys it by the thousand, and sends it about with all speed 
in every direction, to his circle of friends and acquaint- 
ance, to the newspapers, to the great speakers at public 
meetings ; he fills the Sunday and week-day schools with 
ife, loads the pedlers' baskets, perhaps introduces it into 
the family spiritual reading on Sunday evenings, consoled 
and comforted with the reflection that he has got some- 
thing fresh and strong and undeniable, in evidence of the 
utter odiousness of the Catholic religion. 

Next comes an absolute, explicit, total denial or refu- 
tation of the precious calumny, whatever it may be, on 
unimpeachable authority. The Prejudiced Man simply 
discredits it, and simply puts it aside, not taking any 
impression from it at all, or paying it the slightest atten- 
tion. This, if he can : if he cannot, if it is urged upon 
him, and brought up against him, he draws himself up, 
looks sternly at the objector, and goes on saying the very 
same thing as before, with a louder voice and more con- 
fident manner, by way of making up for the interruption, 
of braving the confutation, and of showing the world that 
nothing whatever will ever make him think one hair- 
breadth more favourably of Popery than he does think, 
than he ever has thought, and than his family ever 
thought before him, since the time of the fine old English 

If a pei'son ventures to ask the Prejudiced Man what 


he knows of Catholics personally, — what he knows of 
individuals, of their ways, of their books, or of their 
worship, he blesses himself that he knows nothing of them 
at all, and he never will ; nay, if they fall in his way, he 
will take himself out of it ; and if unawares he shall ever 
be pleased with a Catholic without knowing who it is, 
he wishes by anticipation to retract such satisfaction. 
About our state of mind, our views of things, our ends 
and objects, our doctrines, our defence of them, our 
judgment on his objections to them, our thoughts about 
him, he absolutely refuses to be enlightened : and he is 
as sore if expostulated with on so evident an infirmity of 
mind, as if it were some painful wound or local inflamma- 
tion, which must not be handled ever so tenderly. He 
shrinks from the infliction. 

However, one cannot always make the whole world 
take one's own way of thinking ; so let us suppose the 
famous story, to which the Prejudiced Man has pledged 
his veracity, utterly discredited and scattered to the 
winds by the common consent of mankind ; this only 
makes him the more violent. For it ought, he says, to 
be true, and it is mere special pleading to lay much 
stress on its not having all the evidence which it might 
have ; for if it be not true, yet half a hundred like stories 
are. It is only impertinent to ask for evidence, when the 
fact has so often been established. What is the good of 
laboriously vindicating St. Eligius, or exposing a leading 
article in a newspaper, or a speaker at a meeting, or a 
popular publication, when the thing is notorious ; and to 
deny it is nothing else than a vexatious demand upon his 
time, and an insult to his common sense. He feels the 
same sort of indignation which the Philistine champion, 
Goliath, might have felt, when David went out to fight 


with him. " Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with 
a staff? and the PhiHstine cursed him by his gods." And, 
as the huge giant, had he first been hit, not in the brain, 
but in the foot or the shoulder, would have yelled, not 
with pain, but with fury at the insult, and would not have 
been frightened at all or put upon the defensive, so our 
Prejudiced Man is but enraged so much the more, and 
almost put beside himself, by the presumption of those 
who, with their doubts or their objections, interfere with 
the great Protestant Tradition about the Catholic Church. 
Proof against us is, as he thinks, but a matter of time ; 
and we know in affairs of every-day, how annoyed and 
impatient we are likely to become, when obstacles are put 
in our way in any such case. We are angered at delays, 
when they are but accidental, and the issue is certain ; we 
are not angered, but we are sobered, we become careful 
and attentive to impediments, when there is doubt about 
the issue. The very same difficulties put us on our metal 
in the one case, and do but irritate us in the other. If, 
for instance, a person cannot open a door, or get a key 
into a lock, which he has done a hundred times before, 
you know how apt he is to shake, and to rattle, and to 
force it, as if some great insult was offered him by its 
resistance ; you know how surprised a wasp, or other 
large insect is, that he cannot get through a window 
pane ; such is the feeling of the Prejudiced Man when 
we urge our objections — not softened by them at all, but 
exasperated the more ; for what is the use of incontro- 
vertible arguments against a conclusion which he already 
considers to be infallible ? 

This, you see, is the reason why the most overwhelming 
refutations of the calumnies brought against us, do us no 
good at all with the Protestant community. We were 


tempted, perhaps, to say to ourselves, " What will they 
have to say in answer to this ? now at last the falsehood 
is put down for ever, it will never show its face again V 
Vain hope ! just the reverse : like Milton's day star, 
after sinking into the ocean, it soon " repairs its drooping 

" And tricks its beams, and with new-spangled ore 
Flames in the forehead of the morniug sky." 

Certainly, for it is rooted in the mind itself; it has no 
uncertain holding of things external ; it does not depend 
on the accident of time, or place, or testimony, or sense, 
or possibility, or fact ; it depends on the will alone. 
Therefore, " unhurt amid the war of elements," it 
" smiles" at injury, and " defies" defeat ; for it is safe 
and secure, while it has the man's own will on its side. 
Such is the virtue of prejudice — it is ever reproductive ; 
in vain is Jeffreys exposed ; he rises again in Teodore ; 
Teodore is put down ; in vain, for future story-tellers and 
wonder- mongers, as yet unknown to fame, are below the 
horizon, and will come to view, and will unfold their tale 
of horror, each in his day, in long succession ; for these 
whispers, and voices, and echoes, and reverberations, are 
but the response, and, as it were, the expression of that 
profound inward persuasion, and that intense illusion, 
which wraps the soul and steeps the imagination of the 
Prejudiced Man. 

However, we will suppose him in a specially candid 
humour, when you set about undeceiving him on some 
point on which he misstates the Catholic faith. He is 
determined to be fairness itself, and to do full justice to 
your argument. So you begin your explanation ; — you 
assure him he misconceives your doctrines ; he has got 
a wrong view of facts. You appeal to original autho- 




rities, and show him how shamefully they have been mis- 
quoted : you appeal to history, and prove it has been 
garbled. Nothing is wanting to your representation ; it 
is triumphant. He is silent for a moment, then he begins 
with a sentiment. " What clever fellows these Catholic* 
are !" he says, " I defy you to catch them tripping ; they 
have a way out of every thing. I thought we had you, 
but I fairly own I am beaten. This is how the Jesuits 
get on ; always educated, subtle, well up in their books ; 
a Protestant has no chance with them." You see, my 
Brothers, you have not advanced a step in convincing 

Such is the Prejudiced Man at best advantage ; but 
commonly under the same circumstances he will be grave 
and suspicious. " I confess," he will say, " I do not like 
these very complete explanations ; they are too like a 
made up case, I can easily believe there was exaggera- 
tion in the charge ; perhaps money was only sometimes 
taken for the permission to sin, but our friend professes 
to prove it was never taken : this is proving too much. I 
always suspect something behind, when every thing is so 
very easy and clear." Or again, " We see before our 
eyes a tremendous growth of Popery ; how does it grow ? 
You tell me you are poor, your priests few, your friends 
without influence ; then how does it grow ? It could not 
grow without means : it is bad enough, if you can assign 
a cause ; it is worse, if you cannot. Cause there must 
be some where, for effects imply causes. How did it get 
into Oxford ? tell me that. How has it got among the 
Protestant Clergy ? I like all things above board ; I hate 
concealment, I detest plots. There is evidently some- 
thing to be accounted for ; and the more cogently you 
prove that it is not referrible to any thing which we see. 


the graver suspicions do you awaken, that it is traceable 
to something which is hid." Thus our Prejudiced Man 
simply ignores that special cause, to which Catholics of 
course refer the growth of Catholicism, and which surely, 
if admitted, is sufficient to account for it, viz. that it is 
true. He will not admit the power of truth among the 
assignable, conjectural causes. He would rather, I am 
sure, assign it to the agency of evil spirits, than suspect 
the possibility of a religion being true which he wills 
should be a falsehood. 

One word here, as to this growth of Catholicism, of 
conversions, and converts; — the Prejudiced Man has his 
own view of it all. First, he denies the fact that there 
are any conversions or converts at all. This is a bold 
game, and will not succeed in England, though I have been 
told that in Ireland it has been strenuously maintained. 
However, let him grant the fact, that converts there are, 
and he has a second ground to fall back upon : the converts 
are weak and foolish persons, — notoriously so ; all their 
friends think so ; there is not a man of any strength of 
character, or force of intellect among them. They have 
either been dreaming over their folios, or have been 
caught with the tinsel embellishment of Popish worship. 
They are lack-a-daisical women, or conceited young par- 
sons, or silly squires, or the very dregs of our large 
towns, who have nothing to lose, and no means of know- 
ing one thing from another. Thirdly, in corroboration : — 
they went over, he says, on such exceedingly wrong 
motives ; not any one of them, but you may trace hia 
conversion to something distinctly wrong ; it was love of 
notoriety, it was restlessness, it was resentment, it was 
lightness of mind, it was self-will. There was trickery 
in his mode of taking the step, or inconsideratenesa tO' 

T 2 


wards the feelings of others. They went too soon, or 
they ought to have gone sooner. They ought to have 
told every one their doubts as soon as ever they felt 
them, and before they knew whether or not they should 
overcome them or no : if they had clerical charges in the 
Protestant Church, they ought to have flung them up at 
once, even at the risk of afterwards finding they had 
made a commotion for nothing. Or, on the other hand, 
what, forsooth, must these men do when a doubt came 
on their mind, but at once abandon all their clerical duty 
and go home, as if it were possible any where to be abso- 
lutely certain ? In short, they did not become Catholics 
at the right moment ; so that, however numerous they 
may be, no weight whatever attaches to their conversion. 
As for him, it does not affect him at all ; he means to die 
just where he is ; indeed, these conversions are a positive 
argument in favour of Protestantism : he thinks still 
worse of Popery in consequence of these men going over, 
than he did before. His fourth remark is of this sort : — 
they are sure to come back. He prophesies that by this 
time next year, not one of them will be a Catholic. His 
fifth is as bold as the first : — they have come back. This 
argument, however, of the Prejudiced Man, admits 
at times of being shown to advantage, should it so 
happen that the subjects of his remark have, for some 
reason or other, gone abroad, for then there is nothing 
to restrain his imagination. Hence, directly a new Ca- 
tholic is safely lodged two or three thousand miles away, 
out comes the confident news that he has returned to Pro- 
testantism; when no friend has the means to refute it. 
When this argument fails, as fail it must by the time a 
letter can be answered, our Prejudiced Man falls back on 
his sixth common place, which is to the effect that the 


converts are very unhappy. He knows this on the first 
authority ; he has seen letters declaring or showing it. 
They are quite altered men, very much disappointed with 
Catholicism, restless, and desirous to come back except 
from false shame. Seventhly, they are altogether de- 
teriorated in character ; they have become harsh, or 
overbearing, or conceited, or vulgar. They speak with 
extreme bitterness aorainst Protestantism, have cast off 
their late friends, or seem to forget that they ever were 
Protestants themselves. Eighthly, they have become 
infidels ; — alas ! heedless of false witness, the Prejudiced 
Man spreads the news about right and left in a tone of 
great concern and distress ; he considers it very awful. 

Lastly, when every resource has failed, and, in spite of 
all that can be said, and surmised, and expressed, and 
hoped, about the persons in question. Catholics they have 
become and Catholics they remain, the Prejudiced Man 
has a last resource ; he simply forgets that Protestants 
they ever were. They cease to have antecedents ; they 
cease to have any character, any history to which they 
may appeal : they merge in the great fog, in which to his 
eyes every thing Catholic is enveloped ; they are dwellers 
in the land of romance and fable ; and, if he dimly con- 
templates them plunging and floundering amid the gloom, 
it is as griffins, wiverns, salamanders, the spawn of 
Popery, such as are said to sport in the depths of the 
sea, or to range amid the central sands of Africa. He 
forgets he ever heard of them ; he has no duties to their 
names, he is released from all anxiety about them ; he 
dies to them. 

Now, my Brothers, unless 1 should be obliged to allude 
to myself, I could, without bringing in other instances. 


show you, from my own experience, that there is no ex- 
aggeration in what I have been saying. I will go so far 
as to mention four facts about me, as they have been 
commonly reported. First, when I became a Catholic, 
grave persons, Protestant clergymen, attested (what they 
said was well known to others besides themselves), that 
either I was mad, or was in the most imminent danger of 
madness. They put it in the newspapers, and people were 
sometimes quite afraid to come and see me. Next, they 
put about, what they had prophesied beforehand as cer- 
tain to be, that I had the gravest differences with one from 
whom I had received nothing but kindness, and whom I 
regarded, and still regard, with no other feelings than those 
of gratitude and affection. Cardinal Wiseman. They had 
predicted it, and therefore so it must be, whether there 
was evidence of it or not. I will quote to you the words 
of an eminent pulpit and platform clergyman, one of the 
two eloquent defenders of Protestantism, who lately 
gave out that every Catholic Priest ought to be hanged. 
" He believed,"'"' said the " Manchester Courier,"'"' reporting 
his speech, " that already some of those reverend gentle- 
men, who had betaken themselves to Rome, under the 
idea that they were going to a scene of beauty and piety, 
had found that dark was the place behind the scenes that 
they had painted as so beautiful. So he believed it was 
with Mr. Newman. (Hear, hear.) He (the speaker) 
was told that Mr. Newman had a most sovereign con- 
tempt for Dr. Wiseman ; and he was told that Dr. Wise- 
man had the utmost hatred for Mr. Newman. And he 
believed that result was brought about from Mr. Newman 
having seen Dr. Wiseman more closely, and Dr. Wiseman 
having found out that Mr. Newman saw through the 


mask, and discerned him as he was." You see " the 
wish was father to the thought." Thirdly, when I went 
to Rome, then at once a long succession of reports went 
about, to the effect that I had quarrelled with the eccle- 
siastical authorities there, and had refused to be ordained 
on their conditions ; moreover, that I was on the point 
of turning Protestant, and that my friends about me had 
done so already. The list of good stories had not run 
out by the time T came back ; they were too precious to 
be lost, any one of them ; so it was circulated, when I 
came here to Birmingham, that I was suspended by the 
present Bishop of the diocese, and not allowed to preach. 
Fourthly and lastly, it has lately been put into the papers 
under the sanction of respectable names, that I am not a 
believer in the Catholic doctrines ; and broader still in 
private letters, that I have given up revealed religion 
altogether. I mention these instances, not for their own 
sake, but to illustrate the power of prejudice. Men are 
determined they will not believe that an educated Protes- 
tant can find peace and satisfaction in the Catholic 
Church ; and they invent catastrophes for the occasion, 
which they think too certain to need testimony or proof. 
In the reports I have been setting down, there was not 
even a rag or a shred of evidence to give plausibility to 

I have been setting forth as yet the resources of the 
Prejudiced Man, when he has no facts whatever on his 
side, but all against him ; but now let us suppose he has 
something or other to show ; in that case, it is plain that 
he finds it very much easier to maintain his position. If 
he could do so much with no materials at all, to what 
will he be unequal, when he has really something or 


other, external and objective, to bring forward in his jus- 
tification ? " Trifles light as air," says the poet, 

" Are to the jealous confirmation strong 
As proofs of Holy Writ." 

You may be sure he makes the most of them. A vast 
number of matters, we easily may understand, are of 
daily occurrence, which admit of an interpretation this 
way or that, and which are, in fact, interpreted by every 
one according to his own existing opinions. Rival phi- 
losophers seize on new diseoveries, each as being in favour 
of his own hypothesis ; it is not, indeed, many instances 
which are critical and decisive. Are we told of some 
strange appearance at night in some solitary place I 
Those who are fond of the marvellous, think it an 
apparition ; those who live in the rational and tangible, 
decide that it has been some gleam of the moonbeam, or 
some wayfarer or beggar, or some trick intended to 
frighten the passer-by. Thus history also reads in one 
way to one, in another to another. There are those who 
think the French at the bottom of all the mischief which 
happens in England and Ireland ; others lay it to the 
Russians. Our Prejudiced Man of course sees Catholics 
and Jesuits in every thing, in every failure of the potato 
crop, every strike of the operatives, and every mercantile 
stoppage. His one idea of the Catholic Church haunts 
him incessantly, and he sees whole Popery, living and 
embodied, in every one of its professors, nay, in every 
word, gesture, and motion of each. A Catholic Priest 
cannot be grave or gay, silent or talkative, without giving 
matter of offence or suspicion. There is peril in his 
frown, there is greater peril in his smile. His half sen- 


tences are filled up ; his single acts are misdirected ; 
nay, whether he eats or sleeps, in every mouthful and 
every nod he ever has in view one and one only object, 
the aggrandizement of the unwearied relentless foe of 
freedom and of progress, the Catholic Church. The 
Prejudiced Man applauds himself for his sagacity, in 
seeing evidences of a plot at every turn ; he groans to 
think that so many sensible men should doubt its exten- 
sion all through Europe, though he begins to entertain 
the hope that the fact is breaking on the apprehension of 
the Government. 

The Prejudiced Man travels, and then every thing he 
sees in Catholic countries only serves to make him more 
thankful that his notions are so true ; and the more he 
sees of Popery, the more abominable he feels it to be. 
If there is any sin, any evil in a foreign population, 
though it be found among Protestants also, still Popery 
is clearly the cause of it. If great cities are the schools 
of vice, it is owing to Popery. If Sunday is profaned, if 
there is a Carnival, it is the fault of the Catholic Church. 
Then, there are no private homes, as in England, families 
live on staircases ; see what it is to belong to a Popish 
country. Why do the Roman labourers wheel their 
barrows so slow on the Forum ? why do the Lazzaroni 
of Naples lie so listlessly upon the beach ? why, but 
because they are under the malaria of a false religion ? 
Rage, as is well known, is in the Roman like a falling 
sickness, almost as if his will had no part in it, and he had 
no responsibility ; see what it is to be a Papist. Blood- 
letting is as frequent and as much a matter of course in 
the South, as hair-cutting in England ; it is a trick 
borrowed from the convents, when they wish to tame 
down refractory spirits. 


The Prejudiced Man gets up at an English hour, has 
his breakfast at his leisure, and then saunters into some 
of the churches of the place ; he is scandalized to have 
proof of what he so often has heard, the infrequency of 
communions among Catholics. Again and again, in the 
course of his tour, has he entered them, and never by any 
chance did he see a solitary communicant ; — hundreds, 
perhaps, having been in those very churches, according 
to their custom, before he was out of his bedroom. But 
what scandalizes him most, is that even bishops and 
priests, nay, the Pope himself, does not communicate at 
the great festivals of the Church. He was at a great 
ceremonial, a High Mass, on Lady Day, at the Minerva ; 
not one Cardinal communicated ; — Pope, and Cardinals, 
and every Priest present but the celebrant, having com- 
municated, of course, each in his own Mass, and in his 
own chapel or church, early in the morning. Then the 
churches are so dirty ; faded splendour, tawdriness, 
squalidness are the fashion of the day ; — thanks to the 
Protestants and Infidels who, in almost every country 
where Catholicism is found, have stolen the revenues by 
which they were kept decent. He walks about Mid looks 
at the monuments ; what is this 1 the figure of a woman ; 
who can it be ? his Protestant cicerone at his elbow, who 
perhaps has been chosen by his good father or guardian 
to protect him on his travels from a CathoHc taint, whis- 
pers that it is Pope Joan, and he notes it down in his 
pocket-book accordingly. I am alluding to an accident, 
which in its substance befel a most excellent person, for 
whom I had and have a great esteem, whom I am sure 
I would not willingly offend, and who will not be hurt at 
this cursory mention of an unintentional mistake. He 
was positive he had seen Pope Joan, in Rome,^ — I think, 


in St. Peter's ; nay, he saw the inscription on the monu- 
ment, beginning with the words, " Joanni Papissse." It 
was so remarkable a fact, and formed so plausible an ar- 
gument against the inviolateness of the chair of St. Peter, 
that it was thought worth inquiring into. I do not re- 
member who it was the female thus elevated turned into, 
in the process of investigation, whether into the Countess 
Matilda, or Queen Christina ; but certainly into no lady 
who had any claims on the occupation of the Ecumenical 

This puts me in mind of another occurrence, of which 
the publications of the day have recently been full. A 
lady of high literary reputation deposed that Denon and 
other French savans had given her the information that, 
in the days of the Kepublic or Consulate, they had ex- 
amined St. Peter''s chair in the Vatican Basilica, and had 
found that it unquestionably had come from the East, 
long after the age of the Apostle, for it had inscribed 
upon it the celebrated confession of Islamism, " There 
is one God, and Mahomet is his prophet.'" Her preju- 
dices sharpened her memory, and she was positive in her 
testimony. Inquiry was made, and it turned out that 
the chair of which she had spoken was at Venice, not at 
Eome ; that it had been brought thither by the Crusaders 
from the East, and therefore might well bear upon it the 
Mahometan inscription ; and that tradition gave it the 
reputation of being, by no means the Roman, but the 
Antiochene Chair of the Apostle. In this, as in other 
mistakes, there was no deliberate intention to deceive ; 
it was but an ordinary result of an ordinary degree of 
prejudice. The voucher of the story was so firmly con- 
vinced, I suppose, of the " childish absurdity and falsehood 
of all the traditions of the Romish Church," that she 


thought it unnecessary to take pains to be very accurate, 
whether in her hearing or her memory. 

Our Prejudiced Man might travel half his life up and 
down Catholic Europe, and only be confirmed in his con- 
tempt and hatred of its religion. In every place there 
are many worlds, quite distinct from each other : there 
are good and bad, and the good form one body, the bad 
another. Two young men, as is well known, may 
pass through their course at a Protestant University, 
and come away with opposite reports of the state of the 
place : the one will have seen all the good, the other all 
the bad ; one will say it is a sober, well-conducted 
place, the other will maintain that it is the home of 
every vice. The Prejudiced Man takes care to mix 
only in such society as will confirm his views ; he 
courts the society of Protestants and unbelievers, and of 
bad Catholics, who shelter their own vice under the 
imputations they cast on others, and whose lives tell 
against the Church prior to their testimony. His servants, 
couriers, laquais de place, and acquaintance, are all of his 
own way of thinking, and find it for their interest to 
flatter and confirm it. He carries England with him 
abroad ; and, though he has ascended mountains and 
traversed cities, knows scarcely more of Europe than 
when he set out. 

But, perhaps, he does not leave England at all ; he 
never has been abroad ; it is all the same ; he can scrape 
together quite as good evidence against Catholicism at 
home. One day he pays a visit to some Catholic chapel, 
or he casually finds the door open, and walks in. He 
enters and gazes about him, with a mixed feeling of 
wonder, expectation, and disgust ; and, according to cir- 
cumstances, this or that feeling predominates, and shows 


itself in his bearing and his countenance. One time it 
is curiosity ; at another, scorn ; at another, conscious 
superiority ; at another, abhorrence ; over all of their 
faces, however, there is a sort of uncomfortable feeling, as 
if they were in the cave of Trophonius or in a Mesmerist"'s 
lecture-room. One and all seem to believe that some- 
thing strange and dreadful may happen any moment ; 
and they crowd up together, if some great ceremony is 
going on, tiptoeing and staring, and making strange 
faces, like the gargoyles or screen ornaments of the 
Church itself. Every sound of the bell, every movement 
of the candles, every change in the grouping of the 
sacred ministers and the assistants, puts their heads and 
limbs in motion, to see what is coming next ; our poor 
alleviation in thinking of them, lying in this, — that they 
are really ignorant of what is going on, and miss, even 
with their bodily eyes, the distinctive parts of the rite. 
What is our ground of comfort, however, will be their 
ground of accusation against us ; for they are sure to 
go away and report that our worship consists of cross- 
ings, bowings, genuflections, incensings, locomotions, 
and revolvings, all about nothing. 

In this matter, ray Brothers, as I have already said, 
the plain truth is the keenest of satires ; and therefore, 
instead of using any words of my own, I shall put before 
you a Protestant's account of a Benediction of the Blessed 
Sacrament, Avhich he went to see in the Chapel of the 
Fathers of our Congregation in London. I quote his 
words from a publication of an important body, the 
British Reformation Society, established in the year 
1827, and supported, I believe, by a number of eminent 
persons, noblemen, gentlemen, and ministers of various 
denominations. The periodical I speak of is called " The 


British Protestant, or Journal of the Religious Principles 
of the Reformation :" it would seem to be one of the So- 
ciety's accredited publications, as it has its device upon 
the title-page. In the 62nd number of this work, being 
the number for February, 1850, we are presented with 
" Extracts from the Journal of a Protestant Scripture 
Reader." This gentleman, among his missionary visits 
to various parts of London, dropt in, it seems, on Tues- 
day, January 8th, to the Roman Catholic Chapel, in 
King William-street ; which, he commences his narrative 
by telling us, for " the large roses of every colour, and 
laurel," " was more like the flower-shops in the grand 
row of Covent Garden than a place of worship." Well, 
he had a right to his opinion here as much as another ; 
and I do not mean to molest him in it. Nor shall I say 
any thing of his account of the Sermon, which was upon 
St. Paul the first hermit, and which he blames as not 
having in it " the Name of Jesus, or one word of Scrip- 
ture," from beginning to end ; not dreaming that a Rite 
was to follow, in which we not only bow before the Name, 
but worship the real and substantial Presence of our 
exalted Lord. 

I need hardly observe to you, my Brothers, that the 
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the simplest 
rites of the Church. The Priests enter and kneel down ; 
one of them unlocks the Tabernacle, takes out the 
J31essed Sacrament, inserts it upright in a Monstrance of 
precious metal, and places it in a conspicuous place above 
the altar, in the midst of lights, for all to see. The 
people then begin to sing ; meanwhile the Priest twice 
offers incense to the King of heaven, before whom he is 
kneeling. Then he takes the monstrance in his hands, 
and, turning to the people, blesses them with the Most 


Holy, in the form of a cross, while the bell is sounded by 
one of the attendants to call attention to the ceremony. 
It is our Lord*'s solemn benediction of His people, as 
when He lifted up His hands over the children, or when 
He blessed His chosen ones when He ascended up from 
Mount Olivet. As sons might come before a parent be- 
fore going to bed at night, so, once or twice a week, the 
great Catholic family comes before the Eternal Father, 
after the bustle or the toil of the day, and He smiles 
upon them, and sheds upon them the light of His coun- 
tenance. It is a full accomplishment of what the Priest 
invoked upon the Israelites, " The Lord bless thee and 
keep thee ; the Lord show His face to thee and have 
mercy on thee ; the Lord turn His countenance to thee 
and give thee peace." Can there be a more touching 
rite, even in the judgment of those who do not believe in 
it? How many a man, not a Catholic, is moved, on 
seeing it, to say, " Oh, that I did but believe it !" when 
be sees the Priest take up the Fount of Mercy and the 
people bent low in adoration ! It is one of the most 
beautiful, natural, and soothing actions of the Church ; 
not so, however, in the judgment of our young Protestant 
Scripture Reader, to whom I now return. 

This Protestant Scripture Reader then, as he calls 
himself, enters the chapel, thinking, of course, he knows 
all about every thing. He is the measure of every thing, 
or at least of every thing Popish. Popery he knows 
perfectly well, in substance, in spirit, in drift, in results ; 
and he can interpret all the details when they come be- 
fore him at once, by this previous, or what a theologian 
might term " infused," knowledge. He knows, and has 
known from a child, that Popery is a system of imposture, 
nay, such brazen imposture, that it is a marvel, or rather 


a miracle, that any one can be caught by it, — a miracle, 
that is, of Satan ; for without an evil influence it is quite 
impossible any single soul could believe what the Protes- 
tant Scripture Reader would call so " transparent a 
fraud." As a Scripture Reader, he knows well the text, 
Second of Thessalonians, chapter two, verse eleven, " He 
shall send them sti'ong delusion that they should believe 
a lie," and he applies it to the scene before him. He 
knows that it is the one business of the Priest to take 
in the people, and he knows that the people are so incon- 
ceivably brutish that nothing is too gross or absurd a 
trick to take them in withal. If the Priest were to put up 
a scarecrow, they, like the silly birds, would run away as 
if it were a man ; and he has only to lift his balls or 
cards, and flourish them about, and they take him for a 
god. Indeed, we all know, he gives out he is a god, and 
can do what he pleases, for it is sin to doubt it. It is 
most wonderful, certainly, as to this Popery, that in 
spite of the Parliament all in a bustle, passing laws, as if 
against typhus or cholera, yet there it is, and spread it 
will ; however^ Satan is the father of lies ; that is suffi- 
cient. With this great principle, I say, clearly impressed 
upon his mind, he walks into the chapel, knowing well 
he shall find some juggling there ; accordingly, he is 
not at all surprised at the scene which passes before him. 
He looks on at his ease, and draws up his own account 
of it, all the time that the Catholic people are bowing 
and singing, and the Priest incensing ; and his account 
runs thus : — 

After the sermon, he tells us, " another young priest 
came in with a long wand in his hand, and an extinguisher 
on the top of it, and a small candle, and he began to light 
others." Another young priest, he thinks we are born 


priests ; " priest " is a sort of race, or animal, or pro- 
duction, as oxen or sheep may be, and there are young 
priests and old priests, and black priests and white 
priests, and perhaps men priests and women priests ; 
and so in came this other young priest with a wand. 
With a wand ; he evidently thinks there is something 
religious about this lighter and extinguisher ; it is a 
conjuror's wand ; you will, I think, see presently I am 
borne out in saying this. He proceeds, " The next part 
of the play was four priests coming to the altar," (it is as 
I said, every thing is a priest,) " four priests, and Gordon 
in the middle ;" this is a mistake, and an unwarrantable 
and rude use of the name of one of the Fathers of the 
London Oratory, my dear brother and friend, the Re- 
verend Philip Gordon, — for it was not he, and he was 
not a priest ; accordingly I should leave the name out, 
except that it adds a good deal to the effect of the 
whole. " One of them," he proceeds, " took from a 
small cupboard on the altar," that is, the tabernacle, 
" a gold star ;" this is the liead of the monstrance, in 
which was the Blessed Sacrament, "and screwed it 
on to a candlestick," that is, the foot of the monstrance, 
" and placed it on the top of the altar, under the form of 
a beehive supported by four pillars," that is, under the 
canopy. He calls the head of the monstrance a star, be- 
cause it consists of a circle surrounded by rays. 

" The star," he proceeds, " glittered like diamonds, for 
it had a round lamp in the middle of it ;" I suppose he 
means the glass covering the Blessed Sacrament, which 
reflected the light, and you will see clearly, as he goes on, 
that he actually thinks the whole congregation was wor- 
shipping this star and lamp. " This star glittered like 
diamonds, for it had a round lamp in the middle of it; 


when placed under the beehive, the four priests began to 
burn incense, waving a large thing like a lanthorn" (the 
thurible) " towards the star, and bowing themselves to 
kiss the foot of the altar before the star." Now observe, 
my Brothers, I repeat, I am not blaming this person for 
not knowing a Catholic rite, which he had no means of 
knowing, but for thinking he knows it, when he does not ; 
for coming into the chapel, with this most coxcombical 
idea in his head, that Popery is a piece of mummery, 
which any intelligent Protestant can see through, and 
therefore being not at all surprised, but thinking it very 
natural, when he finds four priests, a young priest with a 
wand, and a whole congregation, worshipping a gold star 
glittering like diamonds with a lamp in it. This is what 
I mean hy prejudice. 

Now you may really have a difficulty in believing that 
I have interpreted him rightly ; so let me proceed. " The 
next piece acted was, one of them went to bring down 
the star, and put it on the altar, while another put some- 
thing like a white shawl round Gordon's shoulders." 
True ; he means the veil which is put upon the Priest, 
before he turns round with the Blessed Sacrament in his 
hand. " Gordon next takes the star, and, turning his 
face to the people, to raise up the star, with part of the 
shawl round the candlestick, the other two priests, one 
on each side of him, drawing the shawl, it showed a real 
piece of magic art." Now what makes this so amusing 
to the Catholic is that, as far as the priest's actions go, 
it is really so accurately described. It is the description 
of one who has his eyes about him, and makes the best 
of them, but who, as he goes on, is ever putting his own 
absurd comment on every thing which occurs in succes- 
sion. Now, observe, he spoke of " magic ;" let us see 


what the magic is, and what becomes of the star, the 
lamp, and the candlestick with the shawl round it. 

" As Gordon raised the star, with his back to all the 
lighted candles on the altar, he clearly showed the Popish 
deceit, for in the candlestick there is a bell.'''' Here is his 
first great failure of fact ; he could not be looking at two 
places at once ; he heard the bell, which the attendant 
was ringing at one side, he did not see it ; where could 
it be ? his ready genius, that is, the genius of his wonder- 
ful prejudice about us, told him at once where it was. It 
was a piece of priestcraft, and the bell was concealed in- 
side the foot of the candlestick ; — listen. "As Gordon 
raised the star, with his back turned to all the lighted 
candles on the altar, he clearly showed the Popish deceit; 
for in the candlestick there is a bell, that rung three 
times of its own accord, to deceive the blind fools more ; 
and the light through the shawl showed so many colours, 
as Father Gordon moved his body ; the bell ringing they 
could not see, for the candlestick was covered with part 
of this magic shawl, and Gordon's finger at work under- 

Such is his account of the rite of Benediction ; he 
is so densely ignorant of us, and so supremely confi- 
dent of his knowledge, that he ventures to put in print 
the following rubrical direction for its celebration : — first, 
a yoimg priest lighteth fifty candles by means of a wand 
with an extinguisher and wax candle upon it ; then four 
priests bow, burn incense, and wave a lanthorn before a 
gold, diamond-like star, with a lamp in it, stuck on the 
top of a candlestick ; then one of the priests, hiding what 
he is at, by means of a great shawl about his hands and 
the foot of the candlestick, taketh up said candlestick, 
with the lamp and gold star glittering like diamonds, and 

u 2 


beginneth secretly to tinkle with his finger a bell hid in 
its foot ; whereupon the whole congregation marvelleth 
much, and worshippeth star, lamp, and candlestick in- 

He ends with the following peroration : " This is the 
power of priests ; they are the best play actors in this 
town. I should be glad to see this published, that I 
might take it to Father Gordon, to see if he could con- 
tradict a word of it." Eather, such is the power of pre- 
judice, by good luck expressed in writing, and given to 
the world, as a specimen of what goes on, without being 
recorded, in so many hundred thousands of minds. The 
very confidence with which he appeals to the accuracy of 
his testimony, only shows how prejudice can create or 
colour, where facts are harmless or natural. It is supe- 
rior to facts, and lives in a world of its own. 

Nor would it be at all to the purpose to object, that, 
had he known what the rite really meant, he would quite 
as much, or even more, have called it idolatry. The 
point is, not what he would think of our rites, if he un- 
derstood them exactly, for I am not supposing his judg- 
ment to be worth any thing, or that we are not as likely 
to be right as an individual Scripture Reader ; the 
question is not, what he would judge, but what he did 
think, and how he came to think it. His prejudice in- 
terpreted our actions. 

Alas, my Brothers, though we have laughed at the 
extravagance which shows itself in such instances of pre- 
judice, it is in truth no matter for a jest. If I laugh, it 
is to hide the deep feelings of various kinds which it ne- 
cessarily excites in the mind. I laugh at what is laugh- 
able in the displays of this wretched root of evil, in order 


to turn away my thoughts from its nature and effects 
which are not laughable, but hateful and dangerous, 
dangerous to the Catholic, hateful to the Supreme Judge. 
When you see a beast of prey in his cage, you are led to 
laugh at its impotent fury, at its fretful motions and its 
sullen air, and its grotesque expressions of impatience, 
disappointment, and malice, if it is baulked of its revenge. 
And, as to this prejudice, Brothers of the Oratory, really 
in itself it is one of the direst, most piteous, most awful 
phenomena in the whole country; to see a noble, generous 
people, the victims of a moral infirmity, which is now a 
fever, now an ague, now a falling sickness, now a frenzy, 
and now a St. Vitus's dance ! Oh, if we could see as 
the angels see, thus should we speak of it, and in lan- 
guage far more solemn. I told you why, in an earlier 
part of this Lecture ; not simply because the evil comes 
from beneath, as I believe it does ; not only because it so 
falls upon the soul, and occupies it, that it is like a bad 
dream or nightmare, which is so hard to shake off; 
but chiefly because it is one of the worst sins of which 
our poor nature is capable. Perhaps it is wrong to com- 
pare sin with sin, but I declare to you, the more I think 
of it, the more intimately does this prejudice seem to me 
to corrupt the soul, even beyond those sins which are 
commonly called most deadly, as the various forms of 
impurity or pride. And why? because, I repeat, it argues 
so astonishing a want of mere natural charity or love of 
our kind. It is piercing enough to think what little faith 
there is in the country ; but it is quite heartrending to 
witness so utter a deficiency in a mere natural virtue. 
Oh, is it possible, that so many, many men, and women 
too, good and kind otherwise, should take such delight 
in being quite sure, that millions of men have the sign 


and seal of the Evil One upon them ! Oh, is it con- 
ceivable that they can be considerate in all matters of 
this life, friendly in social intercourse, indulgent to the 
wayward, charitable to the poor and outcast, merciful to- 
wards criminals, nay, kind towards the inferior creation, 
towards their cows, and horses, and swine ; yet, as re- 
gards us, who bear the same form, speak the same tongue, 
breathe the same air, and walk the same streets, ruthless, 
relentless, believing ill of us, and wishing to believe it ! 
I repeat it, they wish us to be, what they believe us to be; 
what a portentous fact ! They delight to look at us, and 
to believe that we are the veriest reptiles and vermin 
which belied the human form divine. It is a dear thought, 
which they cannot bear to lose. True, it may have been 
taught them from their youth, they never may have had 
means to unlearn it, — that is not the point ; they have 
never wished better things of us, they have never Jioped 
better things. They are tenacious of what they believe, 
they are impatient of being argued with, they are angry 
at being contradicted, they are disappointed when a point 
is cleared up ; they had rather that we should be guilty 
than they mistaken ; they have no wish at all we should 
not be blaspheming hypocrites, stupid idolaters, loathsome 
profligates, unprincipled rogues, and blood-thirsty demons. 
They are kinder even to their dogs and their cats than 
to us. Is it not true I can it be denied \ is it not por- 
tentous ? does it not argue an incompleteness or hiatus 
in the very structure of their moral nature ? has not 
something, in their case, dropped out of the list of natural 
qualities proper to man ? 

And hence it is, that, calm as may be the sky, and 
gentle the breeze, we cannot trust the morning : at any 
moment a furious tempest may be raised against us. 


and scatter calamity through our quiet homes, as long as 
the Prince of the power of the air retains this sovereignty. 
There is ever a predisposition in the political and social 
atmosphere to lour and thicken. We never are secure 
against the access of madness in that people, whose name 
and blood we share. Some accident, — a papal bull, 
worded as papal documents have been since the beginning 
of time, a sudden scandal among our priests or in our 
convents, or some bold and reckless falsehood, may raise 
all England against us. Such also was our condition in 
the first age of the Church : the chance of the hour 
brought the pagan Romans upon us. A rash Christian 
tore down an Imperial manifesto from its place ; the hor- 
rible Dioclesian persecution was the consequence. A 
crop failed, a foe appeared, it was all through the poor 
Catholics. So speaks the early Christian Apologist, the 
celebrated Tertullian, in his defence of them about a 
hundred years after St. John's time. " They think the 
Christians," he says, " to be the cause of every public 
calamity, of every national ill. If the Tiber cometh up 
to the walls, if the Nile cometh not up to the fields, if 
the rain hath not fallen, if the earth hath been moved, if 
there be any famine, if any pestilence, Christianos ad 
leonem — to the lion with the Christians — is forthwith the 
cry." No limit could be put to the brutishness of the 
notions then entertained of us by the heathen. They 
believed we fed on children ; they charged us with the 
most revolting forms of incest ; they gave out we wor- 
shipped beasts or monsters. " Now a new report of our 
God hath been lately set forth in this city," says the 
same Tertullian, " since a certain wretch put forth a 
picture with some such title as this, — The god of the 
Christians conceived of an ass. This was a creature with 


ass's ears, with a hoof on one foot, carrying a book, and 
wearing a gown. We smiled both at the name and the 
figure." Not, indeed, the same, but parallel, are the 
tales told of us now. Sottish absurdities are gravely 
appropriated as precious truths. Our very persons, not 
merely our professions, are held in abhorrence ; we are 
spit at by the malevolent, we are passed with a shudder 
of contemptuous pity by the better natured ; we are sup- 
posed to be defiled by some secret rites of blood by the 
ignorant. There is a mysterious pollution and repulsion 
about us, which makes those who feel its influence 
curious or anxious to investigate what it can be. We 
are regarded as something unclean, which no one would 
touch, if they could help it : and our advances are met 
as would be those of some hideous baboon, or sloth, 
or rattlesnake, or toad, which strove to make itself 

Is it wonderful, with this spirit of delusion on the 
faculties of the many, that charges against us are believed 
as soon as made ? So was it two centuries ago : one or 
two abandoned men, Titus Oates, whom the Protestant 
Hume calls " the most infamous of mankind," William 
Bedloe, who, the same writer says, was, " if possible, 
more infamous than Oates," and some others, aided by 
the lucky accident of the assassination of a London 
magistrate, whose murderers were never discovered, were 
sufficient, by a bold catalogue of calumnies, to put the 
whole kingdom into a paroxysm of terror and suspicion. 
The fit had been some time coming on, when " the cry 
of a plot," says Hume, " all on a sudden, struck their 
ears. They were awakened from their slumber, and, like 
men affrighted in the dark, took every figure for a spectre. 
The terror of each man became a source of terror to 


another ; and, a universal panic being diffused, reason 
and argument, and common sense and common humanity, 
lost all influence over them." 

Oates and Bedloe come forward to swear against us 
the most atrocious and impossible falsehoods. The Pope 
and Propaganda had claimed possession of England ; and 
he had nominated the Jesuits to be his representatives 
here, and to hold the supreme power for him. All the 
offices of government had been filled up under the seal 
of this Society, and all the dignities of the Protestant 
Church given away, in great measure, to Spaniards and 
other foreigners. The king had been condemned to 
death as a heretic. There had been a meeting of fifty 
Jesuits in London during the foregoing May, when the 
king"'s death was determined on. He was to be shot 
or to be poisoned. The confessor of the French king 
had sent to London 10,000?. as a reward for any one 
who would assassinate him ; a Spanish ecclesiastic had 
offered 10,000?. more ; and the Prior of the Benedictines 
6000?. The Queen's physician had been offered 10,000?., 
and had asked 15,000?. for the job ; and had received an 
instalment of 5000?. Four Irish ruffians had been hired 
by the Jesuits at twenty guineas a piece, to shoot the 
king at Windsor. Two others were also engaged, one 
at 1500?.; the other, being a pious man, preferred to 
take out the money in masses, of which he was to receive 
30,000. Another had been promised canonization and 
500?., if he was successful in the enterprise. There was 
a subscription going on among the Catholics all through 
England, to collect sums for the same purpose. The 
Jesuits had determined to set fire to London, Southwark, 
and all the chief cities of the country. They were plan- 
ning to set fire to all the shipping in the Thames. 


Twenty thousand Catholics were to rise in London in 
twenty-four hours' time, who, it was estimated, might cut 
the throats of 100,000 Protestants. Tiie most eminent 
divines of the EstabHshment were especially marked for 
assassination. Ten thousand men were to be landed 
from abroad in the North, and were to seize Hull ; and 
20,000 or 30,000 religious men and pilgrims from Spain, 
were to land in Wales. 

Is all this grave history ? — it is. Do not think I have 
added ought of my own ; it is unnecessary. Invention 
cannot run with prejudice. Prejudice wins. Do not my 
true stories of Protestantism beat the fables asrainst 
Catholicism of A chilli and Maria Monk ? they are a ro- 
mance, true and terrible. 

What came of these wild allegations, preferred by men 
of infamous character, and followed by the accident of Sir 
Edmonsbury Godfrey's murder, by unknown assassins 1 
" Without further reasoning," says Hume, " the cry rose 
that he had been assassinated by the Papists, on account 
of his taking Oates's evidence. The clamour was quickly 
propagated, and met with universal belief. Each hour 
teemed with new rumours and surmises. To deny the 
reality of the plot was to be an accomplice ; to hesitate 
was criminal. Royalist, republican, churchman, sectary, 
courtier, patriot, all parties concurred in the illusion. 
The city prepared for its defence, as if the enemy were 
at its gates ; the chains and posts were put up. . . . The 
dead body of Godfrey was carried into the city, attended 
by vast multitudes. . . . Seventy-two clergymen marched 
before ; above a thousand persons of distinction followed 
after; and, at the funeral sermon, two able-bodied di- 
vines mounted the pulpit, and stood on each side of the 
preacher, lest, in paying the last duties to this unhappy 


magistrate, he should, before the whole people, be mur- 
dered by the Papists." 

A recent historian adds to the picture ' ; " Every 
where," he says, "justices were busied in searching 
houses and seizing papers. All the gaols were filled 
with Papists. London had the aspect of a city in a 
state of siege. The trainbands were under arras all night. 
Preparations were made for barricading the great 
thoroughfares. Patrols marched up and down the streets. 
Cannon were placed round Whitehall. No citizen thought 
himself safe, unless he carried under his coat a small 
tiail loaded with lead to brain the Popish assassins." 

The Parliament kept pace with the people ; a solemn 
fast was voted, and a form of prayer drawn up ; five 
Catholic peers were committed to the Tower on charge of 
high treason ; a member of the Commons, who in pri- 
vate society spoke strongly against the defenders of the 
plot, was expelled the House ; and both Houses, Lords 
and Commons, voted, almost in the form of a dogmatic 
decree, " that there is, and hath been, a damnable and 
hellish plot, contrived and carried on by the Popish 
recusants, for assassinating the king, for subverting the 
Government, and for rooting-out and destroying the Pro- 

NOTE.— It may be well to correct at once an error of compo- 
sition, in pp. 128, 129, which is important, though the sense of 
the passage is sufficiently clear. For " nor am I denying, what 
though of course I cannot deny it on any knowledge of mine, yet 
I wish to deny with all my heart," read " though of course I 
cannot assert it on any knowledge of mine, yet I wish to assert 
with all my hejvrt," &c. 


Twenty thousand Catholics were to rise in London in 
twenty-four hours' time, who, it was estimated, might cut 
the throats of 100,000 Protestants. The most eminent 
divines of the Establishment were especially marked for 
assassination. Ten thousand men were to be landed 
from abroad in the North, and were to seize Hull ; and 
20,000 or 30,000 religious men and pilgrims from Spain, 
were to land in Wales. 

Is all this grave history ? — it is. Do not think I have 
added ought of my own ; it is unnecessary. Invention 
cannot run with prejudice. Prejudice wins. Do not my 
true stories of Protestantism beat the fables asrainst 
Catholicism of A chilli and Maria Monk ? they are a ro- 
mance, true and terrible. 

What came of these wild allegations, preferred by men 
of infamous character, and followed by the accident of Sir 
Edmonsbury Godfrey's murder, by unknown assassins ? 
" Without further reasoning," says Hume, " the cry rose 
that he had been assassinated by the Papists, on account 
of his taking Oates's evidence. The clamour was quickly 
propagated, and met with universal belief. Each hour 
teemed with new rumours and surmises. To deny the 
reality of the plot was to be an accomplice ; to hesitate 


magistrate, he should, before the whole people, be mur- 
dered by the Papists." 

A recent historian adds to the picture ' ; " Every 
where," he says, "justices were busied in searching 
houses and seizing papers. All the gaols were filled 
with Papists. London had the aspect of a city in a 
state of siege. The trainbands were under arms all night. 
Preparations were made for barricading the great 
thoroughfares. Patrols marched up and down the streets. 
Cannon were placed round Whitehall. No citizen thought 
himself safe, unless he carried under his coat a small 
Hail loaded with lead to brain the Popish assassins." 

The Parliament kept pace with the people ; a solemn 
fast was voted, and a form of prayer drawn up ; five 
Catholic peers were committed to the Tower on charge of 
high treason ; a member of the Commons, who in pri- 
vate society spoke strongly against the defenders of the 
plot, was expelled the House ; and both Houses, Lords 
and Commons, voted, almost in the form of a dogmatic 
decree, " that there is, and hath been, a damnable and 
hellish plot, contrived and carried on by the Popish 
recusants, for assassinating the king, for subverting the 
Government, and for rooting-out and destroying the Pro- 
testant succession." Titus Gates was called the Saviour 
of his country ; was lodged in Whitehall, protected by 
guards, and rewarded with a pension of 1200/. a year. 

I will not pursue the history of this remarkable frenzy 
into its deeds of blood, into the hangings, and em- 
bowellings, and the other horrors of which innocent 
Catholics were in due course the victims. Well had it 
been, had the pretended plot ended with the worldly 

* Macaulay, History, voi. i. p. 235. 


promotion of its wretched fabricators, whom at this day 
all the world gives up to reprobation and infamy. Gates 
and Bedloe were the Maria Monk, the Jeffreys, the 
Teodore, the Achilli, of their hour, on a larger field; 
they spoke then as Protestant champions speak now, to 
the prejudices of the people ; they equalled our own 
slanderers in falsehood and assurance, in success they 
surpassed them. 

We live in a happier age than our forefathers ; at least 
let us trust that the habits of society and the self- 
interest of classes and of sects will render it impossible 
that blind prejudice and brute passion should ever make 
innocence and helplessness their sport and their prey, as 
they did in the seventeenth century. 

[^Lectures on the Present Position of CatJiolicism 
in England, by the Rev. J. H. Newman, D.D.] 



There is a great and a growing class in the commu- 
nity, who wish to be fair to us, who see how cruelly we 
are dealt with, who are indignant at the clamour, and see 
through the calumnies, and despise the prejudice, which 
are directed against us, who feel themselves to be supe- 
rior to the multitude in their feelings and their judg- 
ments, who aim at thinking well of all men, all persua- 
sions, all schools of thought, and of Catholics in the 
number, and to like each for what is good in it, though 
they may not follow it themselves. Being thus candid, 
and, in a certain sense, unbiassed, they readily acknow- 
ledge the grandeur of the Catholic religion, both in his- 
tory and in philosophy ; they wish to be good friends 
with it ; they delight to contemplate the great Catholic 
heroes ; they recognize, perhaps with almost enthusiastic 
admiration, the genius and other gifts of the intellect, 
which in every age have been so profusely found among 



its adherents. They know and they like individual 
Catholics ; they have every desire to like us in all re- 
spects ; they set their minds to like us, our principles, 
our doctrines, our worship, and our ways. As far as can 
be said of men, they really have no prejudice. In this 
interesting and excellent state of mind, they take up one 
of our books, sincerely wishing to get on with it ; alas, 
they are flung back at once ; they see so much, which 
they cannot abide at all, do what they will. They are 
annoyed at themselve'S, and at us ; but there is no help 
for it ; they discover, they feel that between them and 
us there is a gulf. So they turn from the subject in dis- 
gust, and for a time perhaps are in bad humour with reli- 
gion altogether, and have a strong temptation to believe 
nothing at all. Time passes ; they get over the annoy- 
ance, and perhaps make a second attempt to adjust their 
own feelings with our doctrines, but with no better suc- 
cess. They had hoped to have found some middle term, 
some mode of reconciliation ; they did not expect agree- 
ment, but at least peace ; not coincidence, but at least a 
sort of good understanding and concurrence ; — whereas 
they find antagonism. No ! it is impossible ; it is melan- 
choly, as they feel, to say it, but it is no use disguising the 
truth from themselves ; they cannot get over this or that 
doctrine or practice ; nay, to be honest, there is no part 
they can acquiesce in ; each separate portion is part of a 
whole. They are disappointed, but they never can be- 
lieve, they never can even approve ; if the Catholic sys- 
tem be true, faith in it must be a gift, for reason does 
not bear it out. 

What are the things which so offend the candid and 
kindly disposed persons in question? So many, that 
they do not know where to begin, nor where to end. It 


is the whole system of Catholicism ; our miracles, and 
our relics, and our legends of saints ; and then our doc- 
trine of indulgences, and our purgatory ; and our views 
of sin, and of the merit of celibacy ; and our strange 
formalities in worship ; in a word, all is extravagant, 
strained, unnatural, where it is not directly offensive, or 
substantially impossible. They never could receive any 
part of it, they are sure ; they would find it as hard to 
receive one part as the whole. They must lose their 
moral identity, and wake up with a new stock of thoughts, 
principles, and argumentative methods, ere they could 
even endure it. 

If such is the feeling of even candid and kind men, 
what will be the impression produced by Catholicism on 
the prejudiced I You see it is a cause of shrinking from 
us quite independent of prejudice, for it exists among 
those who are not prejudiced ; but it may be joined with 
prejudice, and then the aversion and abhorrence enter- 
tained towards us will be intense indeed. In that case, 
reason (that is, what the person in question takes to be 
such) — reason and passion will go together. 

Further, consider that it is not individuals merely, 
here and there, but vast multitudes who are affected 
precisely in the same way at hearing our doctrines ; 
millions, whole nations. Each member of them bears wit- 
ness to the rest ; there is the consent, intimate, minute, 
exact, absolute, of all classes, all ranks, all ages, all dis- 
positions. All this is a fact, we see it before us : do we 
require any more to account for the position we hold in 
a Protestant country ? So strong does the persuasion 
become, that Catholicism is indefensible, that our op- 
ponents become aggressive ; they not only spurn our 
creed, and our worship themselves, but they are (as they 

Y 2 


think) in a condition to maintain, that we in oui* hearts 
despise both the one and the other as really as they. 
They will not believe that educated men can sincerely 
accept either ; they do not hold them, therefore" no one 
else can hold them. They conclude, therefore, that we dis- 
helievie what we teach and practise ; and in consequence, 
that we are hypocrites^ as professing one thing, and think- 
ing another. Next they come to a third conclusion, 
that, since no one acts without objects, we must have an 
object in professing without believing, and it must be a 
had object ; for instance, gain or power : accordingly we 
are, first, unbelievers ; secondly, liars ; thirdly, swindlers 
and robbers. And thus you have full-blown Priestcraft ; 
here you have Popery simply detected and uncloked : 
and observe the course of the argument : Catholic 
Priests are infidels, are hypocrites, are rogues, why ? 
because Protestants think Catholic doctrine and Catholic 
worship irrational. 

Here then, Brothers of the Oratory, you see I have 
pointed out to your notice a cause of the feeling, which 
is cherished towards us and our religion, altogether dis- 
tinct from any other I have hitherto mentioned ; and 
perhaps the most important of all. I say the most im- 
portant, because it influences not only the multitude of 
men, but the men of thought, of education, of candour, 
those who are conscious they do wish to do us justice : 
the instinctive rising of the mind, of the intellect, of the 
reason (so they would say themselves, though, of course, 
and, as you will see, I am not going to allow it), opposes 
itself to the Catholic system. Is not our cause hopeless ? 
how can we ever overcome so overwhelmingly formidable 
a fact ? 

I acknowledge its force is very great : this is the ar- 


gument to which men mean to point, when they talk of 
education, light, progress, and so on, being the certain 
destruction of Catholicism. They think our creed is so 
irrational that it will fall to pieces of itself, when the sun 
of reason is poured in upon the places over which at pre- 
sent it is brooding. And, I repeat, (without of course 
allowing that this spontaneous feeling, if so it may be 
called, is synonjTnous with reason,) I acknowledge it is a 
most tremendous obstacle in the way of our being fairly 
dealt with. And our enemies, I say again, are in great 
triumph about it : they say, " Let in education upon 
them ; leave them to reason ; set the schoolmaster upon 
them." Well, I allow this " reason" (to use for the 
moment their own designation of it,) is a serious incon- 
venience to us ; it is in our way : but I do not think it 
so invincible a weapon as they consider it ; and for this 
simple reason, — because, if it were, if it were so ready, so 
safe, and so complete a method as they would have it, I 
consider they would have been slower to take other 
methods ; for instance, slower to hang, to embowel, to 
quarter, to imprison, to banish. If this " reason" would 
do their work for them so well, I do not think they would 
have established their " reason," instead of leaving it to 
fight its own battles; I do not think we should have 
had so many laws passed in its favour and against us. If 
this " reason," as they choose to call it, made such short 
work with Catholicism, they would not have been so 
frightened at what they call " Popish Aggression," or 
have directed a stringent Act of Parliament against a 
poor twentieth part of the population of England. If 
this innate common sense, as they desire to consider it, 
were so crushing, so annihilating to our claims, to our 
existence, why the thousands of fables, fictions, false- 


hoods, fallacies, put out against us ? why Maria Monk, 
and Jeffreys, and Teodore, and Achilli ? Allowing, then, 
as I do, the importance of the phenomenon which I have 
been mentioning, feeling most fully that it requires care- 
ful consideration, granting that we may be fairly asked 
what we have to say to it — that we ought to account for 
its existence, nevertheless I do not think it is so decisive 
an argument, as its own upholders would make it, else it 
ought to have altogether superseded all others. 

In truth, the spontaneous feeling against our doctrines 
and worship, of which I Imve been speaking, exists far 
more among educated men than among the many ; it 
is to the educated class what absurd fiction and false 
witness are to the multitude : the multitude is credulous, 
the educated classes are speculative ; the multitude is 
sensitive of facts — true or false, the educated classes of 
theories ; though I do not deny that the educated classes 
are credulous too, and the multitude theorists. This is 
pretty much the state of the case : and as in former 
Lectures I have directed your attention, my Brothers, to 
the fables and falsehoods circulated against us, as one 
special cause of the odium which attaches to the Catholic 
Name, so this evening I propose to give you some de- 
scription of those views, theories, principles, or whatever 
they are to be called, which imbue the educated and 
active intellect, and lead it, as it were, instinctively and 
spontaneously, first to pronounce the creed and woi'ship 
of Catholicism absurd, and next to pronounce its pro- 
fessors hypocritical. 

I fear I have got upon a dry subject ; I must make 
some demand on your attention, yet I cannot help it. 
All subjects are not equally amusing, equally easy ; still 
it is too important a subject to omit. Did I do so, I 


should be said to be evading the most difficult part of 
the whole controversy. It is, indeed, the most important 
of all I have to treat ; so important, that I cannot do 
justice to it in one Lecture, which is all I mean to give 
to it. So I have a double difficulty about it ; one lies 
in my writing, the other in your attending ; but I nmst 
do my best. 

You may recollect, that, in my Lecture of last week, 
in speaking of prejudice, I alluded to opinions and con- 
clusions, which often went by the name of prejudices, 
yet should more properly be called Prejudgments or Pre- 
sumptions, for this reason, because they rest on argu- 
mentative grounds, and are abandoned by their up- 
holders when those grounds fail them, whereas a prejudice 
is held tenaciously against reason. Thus a man may 
hold as a general fact, that Blacks are inferior to Whites 
in the gifts of intellect, and might thereby be led to 
expect that a certain black, whom he met, would be un- 
equal to play his part in English society ; but he might 
yield at once, when evidence was brought in proof of the 
ability of the particular individual in question ; or again, 
he might yield to argument directed against his view 
altogether. Here would be a presumption without a 
prejudice. On the other hand, if he still persisted that 
the Black was weak-minded and incapable, against fact, or 
if he refused to reconsider his grounds, when invited to do 
so, then certainly he would be justly called prejudiced. 

There is no difficulty so far ; but, observe, there are 
opinions and beliefs which do not depend on previous 
grounds, which are not drawn from facts, for which no 
reasons can be given, or no sufficient reasons, which pro- 
ceed immediately from the mind, and which the holder 


considers to be, as it were, part of himself. If another 
person doubts them, the holder has nothing to show for 
their truth except that he is sure that they are true : he 
cannot say, " I will reconsider my reasons," for he has 
no reasons to consider. What, then, is to make him 
abandon them ? what is to touch them I Pie holds them, 
and continues to hold them, whatever is urged against 
him to the contrary ; and thus these opinions and beliefs 
look like prejudices, though they are not. They are 
not prejudices, because prejudices are opinions formed 
upon grounds, which grounds the prejudiced person refuses 
to examine ; whereas these opinions I am speaking of, 
have from the first no grounds at all, but are simple per- 
suasions or sentiments, which came to the holder he 
cannot tell how, and which apparently he cannot help 
holding, and they are in consequence commonly called 
First Principles. For instance, that all Blacks are unin- 
tellectual, would be a prejudice, if obstinately held against 
facts ; whereas the obstinate belief that the Divine Being 
is not moved by prayer, is rather a first principle than a 
prejudice, because, (putting aside the authority of Reve- 
lation,) it can hardly be said to come across facts at all. 
From what I have said, it is plain that First Principles 
may be false or true ; indeed this is my very point, as 
you will presently see. Certainly they are not necessarily 
true ; and, again, certainly there are ways of unlearning 
them when they are false : moreover, as regards moral 
and religious first principles which are false, of course a 
Catholic considers that no one holds them except by his 
own fault : but these are further points, and some of them 
beyond my present subject, which is not theological ; 
however, I mention them to prevent misco)iception. 
Now that there must be such things as First Principles 


— that is, opinions which are held without proof — as if self- 
evident, and moreover that every one must have some or 
other, who thinks at all, is evident from the nature of the 
case. If you trace back your reasons for holding an opinion, 
you must stop some where ; the process cannot go on for 
ever ; you must come at last to something you cannot 
prove, else life would be spent in inquiring and reasoning, 
our minds would be ever tossing to and fro, and there 
would be nothing to guide us. No man alive, but has some 
First Principles or other. Even if he declares that 
nothing can be known for certain, then that is his Fii'st 
Principle. He has got his place in philosophy ready 
marked out for him ; he is of the sect called Academics 
or Pyrihonists, as the case may be, and his dogma is 
either " Nothing can be known in itself," or " Nothing 
can be known even for practical purposes." Any one may 
convince himself of the truth of what I am saying, who 
examines his own sentiments ; for instance, supposing, 
on meeting a particular person, you said you would have 
nothing to do with him politically, and gave as your 
reason, because he belonged to a certain political party. 
And supposing, on being asked why you disliked that 
party, you answered, because their very principle was to 
stand upon their own rights; and then supposing you 
were asked why it was wrong to stand on one's own 
rights, and you answered again, because it was selfish and 
proud ; and being asked once more, why selfishness and 
pride were wrong, supposing you answered that selfishness 
and pride were bad feelings, because the feelings of the 
bad angels, who stood upon their supposed rights against 
the Maker ; or, to sum up the whole in Dr. Johnson''s 
famous saying, that " the devil was the first Whig," why, 
in that case, you see, you would have come to a First 


Principle, beyond which you could not get. I am not 
saying whether your reasoning, or your First Principle, 
was true or false ; that is quite another matter ; I am 
but illustrating what is meant by a First Principle, and 
how it is that all reasoning ultimately rests upon such. 
It would be your First Principle, in the case supposed, 
a principle for which no reason could be given, that the 
bad angels are to be avoided ; thence it would follow that 
what is like them is to be avoided ; and from that again,' 
it followed that pride and selfishness are to be avoided ; 
SLii^from that again, that the particular political party in 
question is to be avoided. This, I repeat, is what is 
called a First Principle, and you see what a bearing it 
has both upon thought and upon action. 

It is a First Principle that man is a social being ; a 
First Principle that he may defend himself; a First 
Principle that he is responsible ; a First Principle that 
he is fi'ail and imperfect ; a First Principle that reason 
must rule passion. 

I will set down one or two other instances of First 
Principles by way of further illustration. 

The celebrated Roman patriot Cato stabbed himself 
when besieged at Utica, rather than fall into the hands 
of Osesar. He thought this a very great action, and so 
have many others besides. In like manner Saul, in 
Scripture, fell on his sword when defeated in battle ; and 
there have been those who reproached Napoleon for not 
having blown out his brains on the field of Waterloo. 
Now, if these advocates of suicide had been asked why 
they thought such conduct, under such circumstances, 
noble, perhaps they would have returned the querist no 
answer, as if it were too plain to talk about, or from 
contempt of him, as if he were a person without any 


sense of honour, any feeling of what becomes a gentleman, 
of what a soldier, a hero owes to himself. That is, 
they would not bring out their First Pnneiple from 
the very circumstance that they felt its power so in- 
tensely ; that first principle being, that there is no evil 
so great in the whole universe, visible and invisible, 
in time and eternity, as humiliation. 

Again, supposing a medical man were to say to his 
patient that he could not possibly get well unless he 
gave up his present occupation, which was too much for 
his health ; supposing him to say, "As to the way of 
your doing this, — how you are to make your livelihood if 
you give it up ; or again, how you are to improve your- 
self in your present trade, or art, or intellectual pur- 
suit ; or again, how, if you take that step, you can keep 
up your religious connexions ; all these questions I have 
nothing to do with ; I am only speaking to you as a 
medical man ;" — nothing could be kinder or more sen- 
sible than such language ; he does not make his own 
medical enunciations first principles ; he delivers his 
opinion, and leaves it to the patient to strike the 
balance of advantages. But it is just possible, to 
take an extreme case, that he might take another 
line. He might be so carried away by his love for 
his own science (as happens commonly to men in any 
department of knowledge), as to think that every 
thing ought to give way to it. He might actually ridi- 
cule religious scruples as absurd, and prescribe some- 
thing which would be simply unlawful to a religious 
man ; and he might give as a reason for such advice, 
that nature required it, and there was an end of the 
matter. In such case he would be going so for as to 
make the principles of his own science First Principles 


of conduct ; and he would pronounce it impossible that 
moral duty ought in any case to interfere with or super- 
sede the claims of animal nature. 

I will take a third instance : — I believe that some 
time ago various benevolent persons exerted themselves 
in favour of the brute creation, who endure so much 
wanton suffering at the hands of barbarous owners. 
Various speculations were set afloat in consequence, and 
various measures advocated. I think I have heard that 
one doctrine was to the effect that it was wrong to eat 
veal, lamb, and other young meat, inasmuch as you 
kiUed creatures which would have enjoyed a longer life, 
and answered the purpose of food better, if you let them 
live to be beef and mutton. Again, shrimp sauce, it was 
said, ought to give way to lobster ; for in the latter case 
you took one life away, in the other a hundred. Now 
the world laughed at all this, and would not condescend 
to reason ; perhaps could not, though it had the best of 
the question ; that is, perhaps it had not put its ideas 
sufficiently in order to be able to reason. However it 
had reasons, and these reasons will be found traceable 
up to this First Principle, which expresses the general 
theory of mankind in their conduct towards the inferior 
animals, viz., that the Creator has placed them absolutely 
in our hands, that we have no duties to them, and that 
there is as little sin, except accidentally, and in the par- 
ticular case, in taking away a brute's life, as in plucking a 
flower or eating an orange. This being taken for granted, 
all questions are in their substance solved, and only acci- 
dental difficulties remain. 

I have said enough to show you what important, what 
formidable matters First Principles are. They are the 
means of proof, and are not proved ; they rule, and are 


not ruled ; they are sovereign on the one hand, irrespon- 
sible on the other : they are absolute monarchs, and if 
they are true, they act like the best and wisest of fathers 
to us ; but, if they are false, they are the most cruel and 
baneful of tyrants. Yet, from the nature of our being, 
there they are, as I have said ; there they must ever be. 
They are our guides and standards in speculating, reason- 
ing, judging, deliberating, deciding, and acting ; they 
are to the mind what the circulation of the blood and 
the various functions of our animal organs are to the 
body. They are the conditions of our mental life ; by 
them we form our view of events, of deeds, of persons, of 
lines of conduct, of objects, of moral qualities, of religion. 
They constitute the difference between man and man ; 
they characterize him. According to his first principles, 
is his religion, his creed, his worship, his political party, 
his character, except as far as adventitious circumstances 
interfere with their due and accurate development ; they 
are in short the man. ''' 

One additional remark must be made, quite as im- 
portant as the foregoing. I just now said that these 
First Principles, being a man's elementaiy points of think- 
ing, and the ideas he has prior to other ideas, might be 
considered as almost part of his mind or moral being 
itself. But, for this very reason, because they are so 
close to him, if I may so speak, it is very likely he is not 
aware of them. What is far off, your bodily eyes see ; 
what is close up to you is no object for your vision. You 
cannot see yourself ; and in somewhat the same way the 
chance is, you are not aware of those principles or ideas 
which have the chief rule over your mind. They are 
hidden for the very reason they are so sovereign and 
so engrossing. They have sunk into you ; they spread 


through you ; you do not so much appeal to them as act 
upon them. And this in great measure is meant by 
saying that self-knowledge is so difficult ; that is, in 
other words, men commonly do not know their First 

Now to show you that they have this subtle and 
recondite character. For instance, two persons begin to 
converse; they come upon some point on which they do 
not agree ; they fall to dispute. They go on arguing 
and arguing perhaps for hours ; neither makes way with 
the other, but each becomes more certain his own opi- 
nion is right. Why is this I How is it to be explained ? 
They cannot tell. It surprises them, the point is so very 
clear ; so far they are agreed, but no further ; for then 
comes the difference, that where one says yes, the other 
says no, and each wonders that the other is not on his 
side. How comes each to be so positive when each con- 
tradicts the other ? The real reason is, that each starts 
from some principle or opinion which he takes for 
granted, which he does not observe he is assuming, and 
which, even if he did, he would think too plain to speak 
about or attempt to prove. Each starts with a first 
principle, and they differ in first principles. 

For instance, supposing two persons to dispute whe- 
ther Milton was or was not a poet ; it might so happen, 
that they both took for granted that every one knew 
what a poet was. If so, they might go on arguing to 
the end of time and never agree, because they had not 
adjusted with each other the principles with which they 

Now here the mistake is very obvious ; it might, how- 
ever, very easily be one which did not come so promi- 
nently forward in the discussion. It might come in, by 


the bye, neither party might see it come in at all, or even 
recognize it to himself as a proposition which he held 
in the affirmative or negative, and yet it might simply 
turn the decision this way or that. 

Thus again it happens, to take an instance of another 
kind, that we cannot tell why we like some persons and 
dislike others, though there are reasons, if we could 
reach them ; according to the lines, 

" I do not like thee, Dr. Fell ; 
The reason whj', I cannot tell." 

Or a person says, " I do not know how it is that this or 
that writer so comes home to me, and so inspires me ; I 
so perfectly agree with him, or I can so easily follow his 
thoughts."" Both feelings may be accounted for, at least 
in many cases, by a difference or agreement in First Prin- 
ciples between the speaker and the person spoken of, 
showing itself in the words, or writings, or deeds, or life 
of the latter, when submitted to the criticism of the 

Sometimes two friends live together for years, and 
appear to entertain the same religious views ; at the end 
of the time they take different courses ; one becomes an 
unbeliever, the other a Catholic. How is this ? some 
latent and hitherto dormant first principle, different in 
each, comes into play, and carries off one to the East, 
the other to the West. For instance, suppose the one 
holds that there is such a thing as sin ; the other denies 
it, — denies it, that is, really and in his heart, though at 
first he would shrink from saying so, even to himself, 
and is not aware he denies it. At a certain crisis, either 
from the pressure of controversy or other reason, each 
finds he must give up the form of religion in which he 


has been educated ; and then this question, the nature 
of sin, what it is, whether it exists, comes forward as 
a turning point between them ; he who does not beheve 
in it becomes an unbehever; he who does, becomes a 

Such, then, are First Principles ; sovereign, irrespon- 
sible, and secret ; — what an awful form of government 
the human mind is under from its very constitution ! 

There are many of these First Principles, as I have 
called them, which are common to the great mass of 
mankind, and are therefore true, as having been im- 
printed on the human mind by its Maker. Such are the 
great truths of the moral law, the duties, for instance, of 
justice, truth, and temperance. Others are peculiar to 
individuals, and are in consequence of no authority ; as, 
for instance, to take a case which cannot often occur, the 
opinion that there is no difference between virtue and 
vice. Other principles are common to extended locali- 
ties ; men catch them from each other, by education, by 
daily intercourse, by reading the same books, or by 
being members of the same political community. Hence 
nations have very frequently one and the same set of 
first principles, of the truth of which each individual is 
still more sure, because it is not only his own opinion, 
but the opinion of nearly everyone else about him. Thus, 
for instance, it was the opinion of the ancient pagan 
Romans, that every one should follow the religion of his 
own country, and this was the reason they persecuted 
the first Christians. They thought it exceedingly hard 
that the Christians would take up a religion of their own, 
and that an upstart religion, lately imported from Pales- 
tine. They said, " Why cannot you be contented to be 
as your ancestors? we are most liberal on the point 


of religion ; we let a Jew follow Jewish rites, and an 
Egyptian the rites of Egypt, and a Carthaginian the 
Punic ; but you are ungrateful and rebellious, because 
you will not be content with this ample toleration, but 
will introduce into your respective countries a foreign 
religion."'' They thought all this exceedingly sensible, 
and, in fact, unanswerable ; statesmen of all parties and 
all the enlightened men and great thinkers of the Em- 
pire gave in their adhesion to it ; and on this First 
Principle they proceeded to throw our poor forefathers 
to the beasts, to the flame, and to the deep, after first 
putting them to the most varied and horrible tortures. 
Such was the power of an imperial idea, and a popular 
dogma ; such is the consequence of a First Principle 
being held in common by many at once ; it ceases to be 
an opinion ; it is at once taken for truth ; it is looked 
upon as plain common sense ; opposite opinions are 
thought impossible, they are absurdities and nonentities, 
and have no rights whatever. 

In the instance I have mentioned, the folly and the 
offence, in the eyes of the Romans, was proselytizing ; 
but let us fancy this got over, would the Christian system 
itself have pleased the countrymen of Cato at all better ? 
On the contrary, they would have started with his First 
Principle, that humiliation was immoral, as an axiom ; 
they would not have attempted to prove it ; they would 
have considered it as much a fact as the sun in heaven ; 
they would not have even enunciated it, they would have 
merely implied it. Fancy a really candid philosopher, 
who had been struck with the heroic deaths of the Mar- 
tyrs, turning with a feeling of good will to consider the 
Christian ethics ; what repugnance would he not feel 
towards them ! to crouch, to turn the cheek, not to 


resist, to love to be lowest ! Who ever heard of such a 
teaching ? it was the religion of slaves, it was unworthy 
of a man ; much more of a Roman ; yet that odious reli- 
gion in the event became the creed of countless millions ; 
what philosophers so spontaneously and instinctively con- 
demned has been professed by the profoundest and the 
noblest of men, through eighteen centuries ; so possible 
is it for our First Principles to be but the opinions of a 
multitude, not truths. 

Now be quite sure, my Brothers, that I make clear to 
you the point on which I am animadverting in these in- 
stances. I am not blaming Cato and his countrymen for 
using their First Principles, whatever they were, while 
they believed them : every one must use such opinions 
as he has ; there is nothing else to be done. What I 
should blame in them, would be their utterly despising 
another system with which they did not sympathize, 
and being so sure that they were right ; their for- 
getting that the Christians might have First Principles, 
as well as they, and opposite ones ; their forgetting that 
it was a question of First Principles ; that the contest 
was not ended — that it had not begun. They viewed 
Christianity with disgust, at first sight. They were re- 
pelled, thrown back, they revolted from the Religion, and 
they took that mere feeling of theirs as an evidence that 
the Religion really was wrong and immoral. No, it only 
showed that either the Religion or they were wrong, which 
of the two had still to be determined. Christians had 
their First Principles also ; " blessed are the meek," 
" blessed are the persecuted," " blessed are the pure- 
hearted." These First Principles the Pagans had no 
right to ignore. They chose to apply their own First 
Principles as decisive tests, to the examination of the 


precepts and practice of the Church, and by means of 
them they condemned her; but if they had appHed 
Christian principles as the measure of her precepts and 
her practice, they would, on the contrary, have been forced 
to praise her. All depends on which set of principles 
you begin by assuming. 

The same thing takes place now. A dispassionate 
thinker is strack with the beauty and the eloquence of 
the rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church ; he likes 
to be present at them, but he says they are addressed of 
course only to the imagination, not to the reason. They 
are indefensible in the eye of reason. What does he 
mean? Why this, when he explains himself: — he says 
he cannot understand how the Divine Being needs pro- 
pitiating — is He not good ? what can be the use of these 
ceremonies ? why, too, such continual prayer I why try 
to get others to pray for you too, and for your object, 
whatever it is ? what the use of novenas f why betake 
yourselves to saints ? what can they do for you ? So he 
might go on, speaking against the whole system of 
deprecatory and intercessory prayer, and we might be 
grieved and perplexed at such a line of thought in so 
candid a man, and we should ask ourselves how it came 
to be. Now if it turned out at length that the said critic 
disbelieved the virtue of prayer altogether, or that the 
Divine Being was really moved by it, or that it was of 
any good whatever beyond the peace and sereneness which 
the exercise poured over the soul, I think you would con- 
sider that this fact quite explained those criticisms of his 
which distressed you ; you would feel that it was nugatory 
to argue points of detail with one, who, however candid, 
differed from you in principle ; and while you would not 
quarrel with him for having his own First Principles 

z 2 


(seriously as you thought of them theologically), your 
immediate charge against him would be that he had for- 
gotten that a Catholic has First Principles too, and 
forgotten also that we have as much right to have our 
theory of prayer as he to have his own. His surprise 
and offence constitute no proof even to himself, that we 
are wrong : they only show, that as we have our First 
Principles, which we consider true, but which are not 
capable of proof, so has he his. The previous question 
remains — Which set of principles is true ? He is a 
theorist, using his theory against our practice, as if our 
practice might not have its own theory also. But, in 
fact, he does not dream that we have any intellectual 
principles whatever as the basis of what we do : he 
thinks he is the only intellectual man ; he has mind on 
his side, it never came into our heads to have it ; we 
do not know what mind is. Thus he imagines and de- 
termines, knowing nothing whatever of our acute, pro- 
found, subtle philosophers, except by name, and ridding 
himself of the trouble of reading their works by nick- 
naming them schoolmen or monks. 

Now I have come to the point at which the mainte- 
nance of private opinion runs into bigotry. As Prejudice 
is the rejection of reason altogether, so Bigotry is the 
imposition of private reason, — that is, of our own views 
and theories, of our own First Principles, as if they were 
the absolute truth, and the standard of all argument, in- 
vestigation, and judgment. If there were any men in 
the world who ought to abstain from bigotry, it is Pro- 
testants. They, whose very badge is the right of private 
judgment, should give as well as take, should allow others 
what they claim themselves : but I am sorry to say, as I 
have had occasion to say again and again, there is very 


little of the spirit of reciprocity among them ; they mo- 
nopolize a liberty which they professed, when they set 
out, was to be for the benefit of all parties. Not even 
the intellectual, not even the candid-minded among them, 
are free from inconsistency here. They begin by setting 
up principles of thought and action for themselves ; then, 
not content with applying them to their own thoughts 
and actions, they make them the rule for criticizing and 
condemning our thoughts and actions too : this, I repeat, 
is Bigotry, Bigotiy is the infliction of our own un- 
proved First Principles on others, and the treating others 
with scorn or hatred for not accepting them. There are 
principles, indeed, as I have already said, not peculiar or 
proper to the individual, but the rule of the world, such 
as the First Principles of morals, because they come 
from the Author of our being, and from no private fac- 
tory of man. It is not bigotry to despise intemperance ; 
it is not bigotry to hate injustice or cruelty ; but what- 
ever is local, or national, or sectional, or personal, or 
novel, and nothing more, to make that the standard of 
judging all existing opinions, without an attempt at 
proving it to be of authority, is mere ridiculous bigotry. 
" In necessariis unitas, in duhiis libertas" is ever the 
rule of a true philosopher. And though I know in many 
cases it is very difficult to draw the line, and to decide 
what principles are, and what are not, independent of 
individuals, times, and places, eternal and divine, yet so 
far we may safely assert, — that when the very persons 
who hold certain views, confess, nay, boast, nay, are 
jealously careful, that they come of their own private 
judgment, they at least should be as jealous, and as careful 
to keep them in their place, and not to use them as if 
they came distinctly from heaven, or from the nature of 


things, or from the nature of man. Those persons surely 
are precluded, if they would be consistent, from using their 
principles as authoritative, who proclaim that they made 
them for themselves. Protestants, then, if any men 
alive, are, on their own showing, bigots, if they set up 
their First Principles as oracles, and as judges of all 

This being considered, have we not, my Brothers, a 
curious sight before us ? This is what we call an en- 
lightened age : we are to have large views of things ; 
every thing is to be put on a philosophical basis ; reason 
is to rule ; the vi'orld is to begin again ; a new and 
transporting set of views is about to be exhibited to the 
great human family. Well and good ; have them, 
preach them, enjoy them, but deign to recollect the 
while, that there have been views in the world before you; 
that the world has not been going on up to this day 
without any principles whatever ; that the Old Religion 
was based on principles, and that it is not enough to 
flourish about your " new lamps," if you would make us 
give up our " old" ones. Catholicism, I say, had its 
First Principles before you were born : you say they are 
false : very well, prove them to be so : they are false, 
indeed, if yours are true ; but not false merely because 
yours are yours. While yours are yours, it is self- 
evident, indeed, to you, that ours are false : but it is not 
the way to carry on business in the world, to value Eng- 
lish goods by French measures, or to pay a debt in paper 
which was contracted in gold. Catholicism has its First 
Principles ; overthrow them, if you can ; endure them, 
if you cannot. It is not enough to call them effete 
because they are old, or antiquated because they are 
ancient. It is not enough to look into our Churches, and 


cry " It is all a form, because divine favour cannot depend 
on external observances ;" or, " It is all a bondage, 
because there is no such thing as sin ;" or " a blasphemy, 
because the Supreme Being cannot be present in cere- 
monies ; "" or " a mummery, because prayer cannot move 
Him ;"" or " a tyranny, because vows are unnatural ;" or 
" hypocrisy, because no i-ational man can credit it all." 
I say here is endless assumption, unmitigated hypothesis, 
reckless assertion : prove your, " because," " because," 
" because :"" prove your First Principles, and if you 
cannot, learn philosophic moderation. Why may not my 
First Principles contest the prize with yours I they have 
been longer in the world, they have lasted longer, they 
have done harder work, they have seen rougher service. 
You sit in your easy chairs, you dogmatize in your 
lecture-rooms, you wield your pens : it all looks well on 
paper : you write exceedingly well : there never was an 
age in which there was better writing ; logical, nervous, 
eloquent, and pure, — go and carry it all out in the world. 
Take your First Principles, of which you are so proud, 
into the crowded streets of our cities, into the formidable 
classes which make up the bulk of our population ; try to 
work society by them. You think you can ; I say you 
cannot — at least you have not as yet ; it is yet to be seen, 
if you can. " Let not him that putteth on his armour 
boast as he who taketh it off." Do not take it for 
granted that that is certain, which awaits the test of 
reason and experiment. Be modest until you are vic- 
torious. My principles, which I believe to be eternal, 
have at least lasted 1800 years; let yours live as many 
months. That man can sin, that he has duties, that the 
Divine Being hears prayer, that He gives his favours 
through visible ordinances, that He is really present in 


the midst of them, these principles have been the life of 
nations ; they have shown they could be carried out : let 
any single nation carry out yours, and you will have better 
claim to speak contemptuously of Catholic rites, of Ca- 
tholic devotions, of Catholic belief. 

What is all this but the very state of mind, which we 
ridicule, and call narrowness, in the case of those who 
have never travelled I We call them, and rightly, men of 
contracted ideas, who cannot fancy things going on 
differently from what they have themselves witnessed at 
home, and laugh at every thing because it is strange. 
They themselves are the pattern-men ; their height, their 
dress, their manners, their food, their language, are all 
founded in the nature of things ; and every thing else is 
good or bad, just in that very degree in which it partakes 
of them. All men ought to get up at half- past eight, 
breakfast between nine and ten, read the newspapers, 
lunch, take a ride or drive, dine. Here is the great 
principle of the day — dine ; no one is a man who does 
not dine ; yes, dine, and at the right hour ; and it must 
be a dinner, with a certain time after dinner, and then in 
due time bed. Tea and toast, port wine, roast beef ; mince- 
pies at Christmas, lamb at Easter, goose at Michael- 
mas, these are their great principles. They suspect 
any one who does otherwise. Figs and maccaroni for 
the day's fare, or Burgundy and grapes for breakfast ! — 
they are aghast at the atrocity of the notion. And hence 
you read of some good country gentleman, who, on 
undertaking a Continental tour, was warned of the pri- 
vations and mortifications that lay before him from the 
difference between foreign habits and his own, stretching 
his mind to a point of enlargement answerable to the 
occasion, and making reply, that he knew it, that he had 


dwelt upon the idea, that he had made up his mind to it, 
and thought himself prepared for any thing, provided he 
could but bargain for a clean tablecloth, and a good 
rump-steak every day. 

Here was a man of one idea ; there are many men of 
one idea in the world ; your unintellectual machine, who 
eats, drinks, and sleeps, is a man of one idea. Such, too, 
is your man of genius, who strikes out some new, or 
revises some old view in science or in art, and would 
apply it as a sort of specific or interpretation to all 
possible subjects, and will not let the world alone, but 
loads it with bad names if it will not run after him and 
his darling fancy ; if it will not cure all its complaints by 
chemistry or galvanism, or will not adopt the peaked 
shoes of Edward III., or the steeple hats of the Puri- 
tans. Such again are those benevolent persons who, 
with right intentions, but yet, I think, narrow views, 
wish to introduce the British constitution and British 
ideas into every nation and tribe upon earth ; differing 
how much ! from the wise man in the Greek epic, whose 
characteristic was that he was " versatile \" for he had 
known " the cities and the mind of many men." History 
and travel expand our views of man and of society ; they 
teach us that distinct principles rule in different coun- 
tries and in distant periods ; and, though they do not 
teach us that all principles are equally true, or, which is 
the same thing, that none are either true or false, yet 
they do teach us that all are to be regarded with atten- 
tion and examined with patience, which have prevailed to 
any great extent among mankind. Such is the temper 
of a man of the world, of a philosopher. He may hold 

* Ilo\vrpoirog. 


principles to be false and dangerous, but he will try to 
enter into them, to enter into the minds of those who 
hold them ; he will consider in what their strength lies, 
and what can be said for them ; he will do his best to 
analyze and dissect them ; he will compare them with 
others ; and he will apply himself to the task of exposing 
and disproving them. He will not ignore them ; — now, 
what I desiderate at the present day in so many even 
candid men, and of course much more in the multitude 
which is uncandid, is a recognition that Catholics liave 
principles of their own ; I desiderate a study of those 
principles, a fair representation, a refutation. It is not 
enough that this age has its principles too ; this does 
not prove them true ; it has no right to put ours on one 
side, and proceed to make its own the immediate touch- 
stones and the sufficient tribunals of our creed, our 
worship, our ecclesiastical proceedings, and our moral 

To show in how very many instances these remarks 
apply to the criticisms and judgments passed by Pro- 
testants upon the details of Catholic teaching and belief, 
is simply impossible, on such an occasion as this. It 
would be to write a book. I will take one instance, but 
even to that I cannot hope to do full justice ; but it will 
be something to have drawn your attention to what 
seems to me an important line of thought, and to the 
mode of using it in the controversy in which we are 

I will take, then, one of those subjects, of which 
I spoke in the opening of this Lecture as offensive to 
Protestants, viz., our belief in the miracles wrought by 
the relics and the prayers of the saints, which has given 
both occasion and scope to so many reports and narratives 


to their honour, true, doubtful, or unfounded, in the Ca- 
thohc Church. I suppose there is nothing which prejudices 
us more in the minds of Protestants of all classes than 
this belief. They inspect our churches, or they attend 
to our devotions, or they hear our seianons, or they open 
our books, or they read paragraphs in the newspapers ; 
and it is one and the same story — relics and miracles. 
Such a belief, such a claim, they consider a self-evident 
absurdity ; they are too indignant even to laugh ; they 
toss the book from them in the fulness of anger and 
contempt, and they think it superfluous to make one 
remark in order to convict us of audacious imposture, 
and to fix upon us the brand of indelible shame. I shall 
show, then, that this strong feeling arises simply from 
their assumption of a First Principle, which ought to be 
proved, if they would be honest reasoners, before it is 
used to our disadvantage. 

You observe, my Brothers, we are now upon a question 
of controversy, in which the argument is not directly about 
fact. This is what I noticed in the opening of this Lec- 
ture. We accuse our enemies of untruth in most cases ; 
we do not accuse them, on the whole, of untruth here. 
I know it is very difficult for prejudice such as theirs to 
open its mouth at all without some mis-statement or 
exaggeration ; still, on the whole, they do bear true, 
not false witness in the matter of miracles. We do 
certainly abound, we are exuberant, we overflow with 
stories which cause our enemies, from no fault of ours, 
the keenest irritation, and kindle in them the most lively 
resentment against us. Certainly the Catholic Church, 
from east to west, from north to south, is, according to 
our conceptions, hung with miracles. The store of relics 
is inexhaustible ; they are multiplied through all lands, 


and each particle of each has in it at least a dormant, 
perhaps an energetic virtue of supernatural operation. 
At Rome there is the True Cross, the crib of Bethlehem, 
and the chair of St. Peter ; portions of the crown of 
thorns are kept at Paris ; the holy coat is shown at 
TrfevGs ; the winding-sheet at Turin ; at Monza, the iron 
crown is formed out of a Nail of the cross ; and another 
Nail is claimed for the Duumo of Milan ; and pieces of 
our Lady's habit are to be seen in the Escurial. The 
Agnus Dei, blest medals, the scapular, the cord of St. 
Francis, all are the medium of divine manifestations and 
graces. Crucifixes have bowed the head to the suppliant, 
and Madonnas have bent their eyes upon assembled 
crowds. St. Januarius's blood liquefies periodically at 
Naples, and St. Winifred's well is the scene of wonders 
even in an unbelieving country. Women are marked 
with the sacred stigmata ; blood has flowed on Fridays 
from their five wounds, and their heads are crowned with 
a circle of lacerations. Relics are ever touching the sick, 
the diseased, the wounded, sometimes with no result at 
all, at other times with marked and undeniable efficacy. 
Who has not heard of the abundant favours gained by 
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and of the mar- 
vellous consequences which have attended the invocation 
of St. Anthony of Padua ? These phenomena are some- 
times reported of Saints in their life-time, as well as 
after death, especially if they were evangelists or martyrs. 
The wild beasts crouched before their victims in the 
Roman amphitheatre ; the axe-man was unable to sever 
St. Cecilia's head from her body, and St. Peter elicited a 
spring of water for his jailor's baptism in the Mamertine. 
St. Francis Xavier turned salt water into fresh for five 
hundred travellers ; St. Raymond was transported over 


the sea on his cloak ; St. Andrew shone brightly in the 
dark ; St. Scholastica gained by her prayers a pouring 
rain ; St. Paul was fed by ravens ; and St. Frances saw 
her guardian angel. I need not continue the catalogue ; 
it is agreed to on both sides : the two parties join issue 
over a fact ; that fact is the claim of miracles on the 
part of the Catholic Church ; it is the Protestants' 
charge, and it is our glory. 

Observe then, we affirm that the Supreme Being has 
wrought miracles on earth ever since the time of the 
Apostles ; Protestants deny it. Why do we affirm, why 
do they deny ? we affirm it on a first principle, they deny 
it on a first principle ; and on either side the first prin- 
ciple is made to be decisive of the question. Our first 
principle is contradictory of theirs ; if theirs be true, we 
are mistaken ; if ours be true, they are mistaken. They 
take for granted that their first principle is true ; we 
take for granted that our first principle is true. Till 
ours is disproved, we have as much right to consider it 
true as they to consider theirs true ; till theirs is proved, 
they have as little ground for saying that we go against 
reason, as for boasting that they go according to it. 
For our first principle is our reason, in the same sense 
in which theirs is their reason, and it is quite as good a 
reason. Both they and we start with the miracles of the 
Apostles * ; and then their first principle or presumption 
against our miracles is this, " What God did once. He is 
not likely to do again ;" while our first principle or pre- 
sumption for our miracles is this ; " What God did once, 

* I am arguing with Protestants ; if unbelievers are supposed, then 
they use virtually Hume's celebx-ated argument, which still is a Pre- 
sumption or First Principle : viz. it is impossible to fancy the order of 
nature interrupted. 


He is likely to do again,'" They say. It cannot be supposed 
He will work wawy miracles ; we, It cannot be supposed 
He will work few. 

I am not aiming at any mere sharp or clever stroke 
against them ; I wish to be serious, and to investigate 
the real state of the case, and I feel what I am saying 
very strongly. Protestants say, miracles are not likely 
to occur often ; we say, they are likely to occur often. 
The two parties, you see, start with contradictory 
principles, and they determine the particular miracles, 
which are the subject of dispute, by their respective 
principles, without looking to the testimony, which may 
be brought in their favour. They do not say, " St. 
Francis, or St. Antony, or St. Philip Neri, did no mi- 
racles, for the evidence for them is worth nothing ;" no, 
but they say, " It is impossible they should have wrought 
miracles." Bring before the Protestant the largest mass 
of evidence and testimony in proof of the miraculous 
liquefaction of St. Januarius's blood at Naples, let 
him be urged by witnesses of the highest character, 
chemists of the first fame, circumstances the most 
favourable for the detection of imposture, coincidences 
and confirmations the most close, and minute, and indi- 
rect, he will not believe it ; his First Principle blocks 
belief. On the other hand, diminish the evidence ever so 
much, provided you leave some, and reduce the number of 
witnesses and circumstantial proof ; yet you would not 
altogether wean the Catholic's mind from belief in it; 
for his First Principle encourages belief. Would any 
amount of evidence convince the Protestant of the 
miraculous motion of a Madonna"'s eyes ? is it not to him 
in itself, prior to proof, simply incredible ? would he 
even listen to the proof? His first principle settles 


the matter ; no wonder then that the whole history of 
CathoHcism finds so Httle response in his intellect or 
sympathy in his heart. It is as impossible that the 
notion of the miracle should gain admittance into his 
imagination, as for a lighted candle to remain burning, 
when dipped into a vessel of water. The water puts it 

The Protestant, I say, laughs at the very idea of 
miracles or supernatural powers as occurring at this day; 
his first principle is rooted in him ; he repels from him 
the idea of miracles ; he laughs at the notion of evidence ; 
one is just as likely as another ; they are all false. 
Why 2 because of his first principle, There are no mira- 
cles since the Apostles. Here, indeed, is a short and 
easy ^vay of getting rid of the whole subject, not by 
reason, but by a first principle which he calls reason. 
Yes, it is reason, granting his first principle is true ; it 
is not reason, supposing his first principle is false. It is 
reason, if the private judgment of an individual, or of a 
sect, or of a philosophy, or of a nation, be synonymous 
with reason ; it is not reason, if reason is something not 
local, nor temporal, but universal. Before he advances a 
step in his argument, be ought to prove his first prin- 
ciple true ; he does not attempt to do so, he takes it for 
granted ; and he proceeds to apply it, gratuitous, per- 
sonal, peculiar, as it is, to all our accounts of miracles 
taken together, and thereupon and thereby triumphantly 
rejects them all. This forsooth is his spontaneous 
judgment, his instinctive feeling, his common sense, a 
mere private opinion of his own, a Protestant opinion, a 
lecture-room opinion, not a world-wide opinion, not an 
instinct ranging through time and space, but an assump- 
tion and presumption, which, by education and habit, he 


has got to think as certain, as much of an axiom, as that 
two and two make four; and he looks down upon us, 
and bids us consider ourselves beaten, all because the 
savour of our statements, and narratives, and reports, 
and legends is inconsistent with his delicate Protestant 
sense, — all because our conclusions are different, not 
from our principles and pi'emisses, but from his. 

And now for the structure he proceeds to raise on this 
foundation of sand. If, he argues, in matter of fact, 
there be a host of stories about relics and miracles 
circulated in the Catholic Church, which, as a matter 
of first principle, cannot be true, to what must we 
attribute them ? indubitably to enormous stupidity on 
the one hand, and enormous roguery on the other. This, 
observe, is an immediate and close inference ; clever men 
must see through the superstition ; those who do not see 
through it must be dolts. Further, since reHgion is the 
subject-matter of the alleged fictions, they must be what 
are called pious frauds, for the sake of gain and power. 
Observe, my Brothers, there is in the Church a vast tra- 
dition and testimony about miracles ; how is it to be 
accounted for ? If miracles can take place, then the 
fact of the miracle will be a natural explanation of the 
report^ just as the fact of a man dying satisfactorily 
accounts for the news that he is dead ; but the Pro- 
testant cannot so explain it, because he thinks miracles 
cannot take place ; so he is necessarily driven, by way of 
accounting for the report of them, to impute that report 
to fraud. He cannot help himself. I repeat it; the 
whole mass of accusations which Protestants bring 
against us under this head. Catholic credulity, impos- 
ture, pious frauds, hypocrisy, priestcraft, this vast and 
varied superstructure of imputation, you see, all rests on 


an assumption, on an opinion of tlieirs, for which they 
offer no kind of proof. What then, in fact, do they say 
more than'this, If Protestantism be true, you CathoHcs 
are a most awful set of knaves ? — Here, at least, is a 
most sensible and undeniable position. 

Now, on the other hand, let me take our own side of 
the question, and consider how we ourselves stand re- 
latively to the charge made against us. Catholics, then, 
hold the mystery of the Incarnation ; and the Incarnation 
is the most stupendous event which ever can take place 
on earth ; and after it and henceforth, I do not see how 
we can scruple at any miracle on the mere ground of its 
being unlikely to happen. No miracle can be so great 
as that which took place in the Holy House of Nazareth; 
it is indefinitely more difficult to believe than all the 
miracles of the breviary, of the Marty rology, of Saints"" 
lives, of legends, of local traditions put together ; and 
there is the grossest inconsistency, on the very face of 
the matter, for any one so to strain out the gnat and 
to swallow the camel, as to profess what is inconceivable, 
yet to protest against what is surely within the limits of 
intelligible hypothesis. If, through divine grace, we once 
are able to accept the solemn truth that the Supreme 
Being was born of a mortal woman, what remains to 
offend us on the ground of its marvellousness ? Thus 
you see it happens that, though First Principles are 
commonly assumed, not proved, ours in this case admits, 
if not of proof, yet of recommendation by that funda- 
mental truth, which Protestants profess as well as we. 
When we start with assuming that miracles are not 
unlikely, we are putting forth a position, which lies im- 
bedded, as it were, and involved in the great revealed 
fact of the Incarnation. So much is plain on starting; 

A a 


but more is plain too. Miracles are not only not unlikely, 
but they are positively likely ; and for this simple reason, 
because, for the most part, when God begins, He goes 
on. We conceive, that when He first did a miracle, He 
began a series ; when He commenced, He continued : 
what has been, will be. Surely this is good and clear 
reasoning. To my own mind, certainly, it is incom- 
parably more difficult to believe that the Divine Being 
should do one miracle and no more, than that He should 
do a thousand ; that He should do one great miracle only, 
than that He should do a multitude of less besides. This 
beautiful world of nature, His own work, He broke its 
harmony ; He broke through His own laws which He had 
imposed on it ; He worked out His purposes, not simply 
through it, but in violation of it. If He did this only in 
the life- time of the Apostles, if He did it but once, 
eighteen hundred years ago and more, that isolated in- 
fringement looks as the mere infringement of a rule ; if 
Divine Wisdom would not leave an infringement, an 
anomaly, a solecism on His work, He might be expected 
to introduce a series of miracles, and turn the apparent 
exception into an additional law of His providence. If 
the Divine Being does a thing once. He is, judging by 
human reason, likely to do it again. This surely is 
common sense. If a beggar gets food at a gentleman's 
house once, does he not send others thither after him ? 
If you are attacked by thieves once, do you forthwith 
leave your windows open at night I If an acquaintance 
were convicted of a fraud, would you let that be the 
signal for reposing confidence in him, as a man who could 
not possibly deceive you ? Nay, suppose you yourselves 
were once to see a miracle, would you not feel the occur- 
rence to be like passing a line ? should you, in consequence 


of it, declare, " I never will believe another if I hear of 
one ?" would it not, on the contrary, predispose you to 
listen to a new report ? would you scoff at it and call it 
priestcraft for the reason that you had actually seen one 
with your own eyes ? I think you would not ; then I 
ask what is the difference of the argument, whether yon 
have seen one or believe one ? You believe the Apos- 
tolic miracles, therefore be inclined beforehand to believe 
later ones. Thus you see, our First Principle, that 
miracles are not vmlikely now, is not at all a strange one 
in the mouths of those who believe that the Supreme 
Being came miraculously into this world, miraculously 
united Himself to man's nature, passed a life of miracles, 
and then gave His Apostles a greater gift of miracles 
than He exercised Himself. So far on the principle 
itself; and now, in the next place, see what comes 
of it. 

This comes of it, — that there are two systems going 
on in the world, one of nature, and one above nature ; 
and two histories, one of common events, and one of mi- 
racles ; and each system and each history has its own 
order. When I hear the report of a miracle, my first 
feeling would be of the same kind as if it were a report 
of any natural exploit or event. Supposing, for instance, 
I heard a report of the death of some public man ; it 
would not startle me, even if I did not at once credit it, for 
all men must die. Did I read of any great feat of valour, 
I should believe it, if imputed to Alexander or Coeur de 
Lion. Did I hear of any act of baseness, I should dis- 
believe it, if imputed to a friend whom I knew and loved. 
And so in like manner were a miracle reported to me as 
wrought by a member of Parliament, or a Bishop of the 
Establishment, or a Wesleyan preacher, I should repudiate 

A a 2 


the notion : were it referred to a saint, or the relic of a 
saint, or the intercession of a saint, I should not be startled 
at it, though I might not at once believe it. And I cer- 
tainly should be right in this conduct, supposing my First 
Principle be true. Miracles to the Catholic are histo- 
rical facts, and nothing short of this ; and they are to be 
regarded and dealt with as other facts : and as natural 
facts, under circumstances, do not startle Protestants, so 
supernatural, under circumstances, do not startle the 
Catholic '. They may or may not have taken place in 
particular cases ; he may be unable to determine which ; 
he may have no distinct evidence ; he may suspend his 
judgment, but he will say " It is very possible ;" he never 
will say " I cannot believe it." 

Take the history of Alfred : you know his wise, mild, 
beneficent, yet daring character, and his romantic vicis- 
situdes of fortune. This great king has a number of 
stories, or, as you may call them, legends told of him. Do 
you believe them all ? no. Do you, on the other hand, 
think them incredible 1 no. Do you call a man a dupe or a 
blockhead for believing them ? no. Do you call an author 
a knave and a cheat who records them ? no. You 2:0 into 
neither extreme, whether of implicit faith or of violent 
reprobation. You are not so extravagant ; you see that 
they suit his character, they may have been : yet this is 
so romantic, that has^ so little evidence, a third is so 

' Douglas, succeeding Middleton, lays down the sceptical and Pro- 
testant First Principle thus : " The history of miracles, (to make use of 
the words of an author, whose authority you will think of some weight,) 
is of a kind totally different from that of common events ; the one to be 
suspected always of course, without tlie strongest evidence to confirm it; the 
other to be admitted of course, without as strong reason to suspect it," &c. 
— Criterion, p. 26. ' 


confused in dates or in geography, that you are in matter 
of fact indisposed towards them. Others are probably 
true, others certainly. Nor do you force every one to 
take your view of particular stories ; you and your neigh- 
bours think differently about this or that in detail, and 
agree to differ. There is in the museum at Oxford, a 
jewel or trinket said to be Alfred's ; it is shown to all 
comers : I never heard the keeper of the museum accused 
of hypocrisy or fraud for showing, with Alfred's name 
appended, what he might or might not himself believe to 
have belonged to that great king : nor did I ever see 
any party of strangers, who were looking at it with awe, 
regarded by any self-complacent bystander with scornful 
compassion. Yet the curiosity is not to a certainty 
Alfred's. The world pays civil honour to it on the pro- 
bability ; we pay religious honour to relics, if so be, on 
the probability. Is the Tower of London shut against 
sightseers, because the coats of mail or pikes there may 
have half legendary tales connected with them ? why then 
may not the country people come up in joyous companies, 
singing and piping, to see the Holy Coat at Treves? 
There is our Queen again, who is so truly and justly 
popular ; she roves about in the midst of tradition and 
romance ; she scatters myths and legends from her as 
she goes along ; she is a being of poetry, and you might 
fairly be sceptical whether she had any personal existence. 
She is always at some beautiful, noble, bounteous work 
or other, if you trust the papers. She is doing alms- 
deeds in the highlands ; she meets beggars in her rides 
at Windsor; she writes verses in albums, or draws 
sketches, or is mistaken for the housekeeper by some 
blind old woman, or she runs up a hill, as if she were a 
child. Who finds fault with these things? he would be 


a cynic, he would be white-livered, and would have gall 
for blood, who was not struck with this graceful, touching 
evidence of the love her subjects bear her. Who could 
have the head, even if he had the heart, who could be so 
cross and peevish, who could be so solemn and perverse, 
a» to say that some of these stories may be simple lies, 
and all of them might have stronger evidence than they 
carry with them? Do you think she is displeased at 
them ? Why, then, should He, the Great Father, who 
once walked the earth, look sternly on the unavoidable 
mistakes of His own subjects and children in their 
devotion to Him and His \ Even granting they mistake 
some cases in particular, from the infirmity of human 
nature, and the contingencies of evidence, and fancy there 
is or has been a miracle here or there when there is not ; 
though a tradition, attached to a picture, or to a shrine, 
or a well, be very doubtful, though one relic be some- 
times mistaken for another, and St. Theodore stands for 
St. Eugenius or St. Agathocles, still, once take into account 
our First Principle, that He is likely to continue miracles 
among us, which is as good as the Protestant, and I 
do not see why He should feel much displeasure with us 
on account of this, or should cease to work wonders in 
our behalf. In the Protestant's view, indeed, who as- 
sumes that miracles never are, our thaumatology is one 
great falsehood; but that is liis First Principle, as I 
have said so often, which he does not prove but assume. 
If he, indeed, upheld our system, or we held his principle, 
in either case he or we should be impostors ; but though 
we should be partners to a fraud, if we thought like 
Protestants, we surely are not, if we think like Ca- 

Such, then, is the answer which I make to those who 


would urge against us the multitude of miracles recorded 
in our Saints' Lives and devotional works, for many of 
which there is little evidence, and for some next to none. 
We think them true, in the same sense in which Protes- 
tants think the history of England true. When they say 
that, they do not mean to say there are no mistakes, but 
no mistakes of consequence, none which alter the general 
course of history. Nor do they mean they are equally 
sure of every part ; for evidence is fuller and better for 
some things than for others. They do not stake their 
credit on the truth of Froissart or Sully, they do not 
pledge themselves for the accuracy of Doddington or 
Walpole, they do not embrace as an Evangelist Hume, 
Sharon Turner, or Macaulay. And yet they do not think 
it necessary, on the other hand, to commence a rehgious 
war against all our historical catechisms, and abstracts, 
and dictionaries, and tales, and biographies, through the 
country ; they have no call on them to emend and ex- 
purgate books of archaeology, antiquities, heraldry, archi- 
tecture, geography, and statistics, to rewrite our in- 
scriptions, and to establish a censorship on all new pub- 
lications for the time to come. And so a.s regards the 
miracles of the Catholic Church ; if, indeed, miracles 
never can occur, then, indeed, impute the narratives to 
fraud ; but till you prove they are not likely, we shall 
consider the histories which have come down to us true 
on the whole, though in particular cases they may be 
exaggerated or unfounded. Where, indeed, they can 
certainly be proved to be false, there we shall be bound 
to do our best to get rid of them ; but till that is clear, 
we shall be liberal enough to allow others to use their 
private judgment in their favour, as we use ours in their 
disparagement. For myself, lest I appear in any way to 


be shrinking from a determinate judgment on the claims 
of some of those miracles and relics, which Protestants are 
so startled at, and to be hiding particular questions in what 
is vague and general, I will avow distinctly, that, putting 
out of the question the hypothesis of unknown laws of 
nature (which is an evasion from the force of any proof), 
I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is 
brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius 
at Naples, and for the motion of the eyes of the pictures of 
the INIadonna in the Roman States. I see no reason to 
doubt the material of the Lombard crown at Monza ; 
and I do not see why the Holy Coat at Treves may not 
have been what it professes to be. I firmly believe that 
portions of the True Cross are at Rome and elsewhere, 
that the Crib of Bethlehem is at Rome, and the bodies 
of St. Peter and St. Paul also. I believe that at Rome 
too lies St. Stephen, that St. Matthew lies at Salerno, 
and St. Andrew at Amalfi. I firmly believe that the relics 
of the saints are doing innumerable miracles and graces 
daily, and that it needs only for a Catholic to show devo- 
tion to any saint in order to receive special benefits from 
his intercession. I firmly believe that saints in their 
life-time have before now raised the dead to life, crossed 
the sea without vessels, multiplied grain and bread, cured 
incurable diseases, and stopped the operation of the laws 
of the universe in a multitude of ways. Many men, when 
they hear an educated man so speak, will at once impute 
the avowal to insanity, or to an idiosyncracy, or to imbe- 
cility of mind, or to decrepitude of powers, or to fanati- 
cism, or to hypocrisy. They have a right to say so, if 
they will ; and we have a right to ask them why they do 
not say it of those who bow down before the Mystery of 
mysteries, the Divine Incarnation. If they do not believe 


this, they are not yet Protestants ; if they do, let them 
grant that He, who has done the greater may do the 

And now, Brothers of the Oratory, I have come to the 
end of a somewhat uninteresting, but a necessary dis- 
cussion. Your lot is cast in the world ; you are not 
gathered together, as we are, into the home and under 
the shadow of St. Philip ; you mix with men of all opi- 
nions. Where you see prejudice, there, indeed, it is no 
use to argue ; prejudice thinks its first principles self- 
evident. It can tell falsehoods to our dishonour by the 
score, yet suddenly it is so jealous of truth, as to be 
shocked at legends in honour of the saints. With pre- 
judiced persons then, you will make no way ; they wiil 
not look the question in the face ; if they condescend 
to listen for a moment to your arguments, it is in order 
to pick holes in them, not to ascertain their drift or to 
estimate their weight. But there are others of a different 
stamp, of whom I spoke in the opening of this Lecture, 
candid, amiable minds, who wish to think well of our doc- 
trines and devotions, but stumble at them. When you 
meet with such, ask them whether they are not taking 
their own principles and opinions for granted, and whether 
all they have to say against us is not contained in the 
proposition with which they start. Entreat them to con- 
sider how they know their existing opinions to be true ; 
whether they are innate and necessary ; whether they 
are not local, national, or temporary ; whether they have 
ever spread over the earth, ever held nations together ; 
whether they have ever or often done a great thing. If 
they say that penances are absurd, or images superstitious, 
or infallibility impossible, or sacraments mere charms, or 



a priesthood priestcraft, get them to put their ideas into 
shape and to tell you the reasons for them. Trace up 
their philosophy for them, as you have traced up their 
tradition ; the fault lies in the root ; every step of it is 
easy but the first. Perhaps you will make them Catholics 
by this process ; at least you will make them perceive 
what they believe and what they do not, and will teach 
them to be more tolerant of a religion which unhappily 
they do not see their way to embrace. 

\ Lectures on the Present Position of Catholicism in 
England, by the Rev. J. H. Newman, D.D.] 



You may have asked yourselves, Brothers of the Oratory, 
why it was, that in, exposing, as I did last week, the 
shallowness of the philosophy on which our opponents 
erect their structure of argument against us, I did not 
take, as my illustration, an instance far more simple and 
ready to my hand than that to which I actually directed 
your attention. It was my object, on that occasion, to 
show that Protestants virtually assume the point in de- 
bate between them and us, in any particular controversy, 
in the very principles with which they set out ; that those 
first principles, for which they offer no proof, involve their 
conclusions ; so that, if we are betrayed into the inad- 
vertence of passing them over without remark, we are 
forthwith defeated and routed even before we have begun 
to move forward to the attack, as might happen to cavalry 
who manoeuvred on a swamp, or to a guerilla force which 
ventured on the open plain. Protestants and Catholics 



each have their own ground, and cannot engage on any 
other ; the question in dispute is more elementary than 
men commonly suppose ; it is abo.ut the ground itself, on 
which the battle is legitimately and rightfully to be 
fought ; the first principles assumed in the starting of the 
controversy determine the issue. Protestants in fact do 
but say, that we are superstitious, because it is super- 
stitious to do as we do ; that we are deluded, because it is 
a delusion to believe what we believe ; that we are knaves, 
because it must be knavery to teach what we teach. A 
short and pleasant argument, easier even and safer than 
the extempore and improvisatore mode of fabricating and 
fabling against us, of which I have said so much in former 
Lectures ; easier and safer, inasmuch as, according to the 
proverb, " great wits ought to have long memories," when 
they deal with facts. In such cases, there must be con- 
sistency, and speciousness, and proof, and circumstantial 
evidence ; private judgment in short becomes subject to 
sundry and serious liabilities when it deals in history and 
testimony, from which it is comparatively free when it 
expatiates in opinions and views. Now of this high d 
priori mode of deciding the question, the specimen I ac- 
tually took was the Protestant argument against relics 
and miracles ; and I selected this instance for its own 
sake, because I wished to bring out what I thought an 
important truth as regarded them ; but a more obvious 
instance certainly would have been the surprising obtuse- 
ness, for I can use no other word, with which the Protest- 
ant Rule of Faith, which Catholics disown, is so often 
obtruded on us, as a necessary basis of discussion, which 
it is thought absurd and self-destructive not to accept, in 
any controversy about doctrine. 

All the world knows, that Catholics hold that the 


Apostles made over to the next generation the divine 
revelation, not only in writing, but by word of mouth, 
and in the ritual of the Church. We consider that 
the New Testament is not the whole of what they 
left us ; that they left us a number of doctrines, not in 
writing at all, but living in the minds and mouths of the 
faithful : Protestants deny this. They have a right to 
deny it ; but they have no right to assume their denial 
to be true without proof, and to use it as self-evident, and 
triumph over us as beaten, merely because we will not 
admit it. Yet this they actually do : can any thing be 
more preposterous ? however, men do this as innocently 
and naturally as if it were the most logical of processes, 
and the fairest and most unexceptionable of proceedings. 
For instance, there was a country gentleman in this 
neighbourhood, in the course of last year, who, having 
made some essays in theology in his walks over his estate, 
challenged me to prove some point, I am not clear what, 
but I think the infallibility of the Holy See, or of the 
Church. Were my time my own, I should never shrink 
from any controversy, having the experience of twenty 
years, that the more Catholicism and its doctrines are 
sifted, the more distinct and luminous will its truth ever 
come out into view ; and in the instance in question I did 
not decline the invitation. However, it soon turned out 
that it was a new idea to the gentleman in question, that 
I was not bound to prove the point in debate simply by 
Scripture; he considered that Scripture was to be the 
sole basis of the discussion. This was quite another 
thing. For myself, I firmly believe that in Scripture it 
is contained; but, had 1 accepted this gratuitous and 
officious proposition, you see I should have been simply 
recognizing a Protestant principle, which I disown. He 

c c 2 


would not controvert with me at all, unless I subscribed 
to a doctrine which I believe to be, not only a dangerous, 
but an absurd error ; and, because I would not allow him 
to assume what it was his business to prove, before he 
brought it forward, and because I challenged him to 
prove that Scripture was, as he assumed, the Rule of 
Faith, he turned away as happy and self-satisfied as if he 
had gained a victory. That all truth is contained in 
Scripture was his first principle ; he thought none but an 
idiot could doubt it, none but a Jesuit could deny it ; he 
thought it axiomatic, and that proof was even a pro- 
fanation of so self-evident a point ; but this, I repeat, 
was no extraordinary instance of Protestant argumenta- 
tion ; it occurs every other day. 

The instance in controversy, to which I have been allud- 
ing, leads by no very difficult nor circuitous transition to 
the subject to which I mean to devote the present Lecture. 
Let it be observed that the fallacy involved in the Pro- 
testant Rule of Faith is this, — that its upholders fancy 
most unnaturally, that the accidental and occasional 
writings of an Apostle convey to them of necessity his 
whole mind. It does not occur to them to ask them- 
selves, whether possibly, as he has in part committed 
his teaching to writing, so he may not have expressed it 
through other channels also. Very different this from 
their mode of acting in matters of this world, in which 
nothing men are more distrustful of, or discontented with, 
than mere writing, when they would arrive at the real 
state of a case in which they are interested. When a 
government, or the proprietors of a newspaper, would 
gain accurate information on any subject, they send some 
one to the spot, to see with his eyes. When a man of 
business would bring a negotiation to a safe and satisfac- 


tory conclusion, he exclaims that letters are endless, and 
forthwith despatches a confidential person to transact 
the matter with the parties with whom he is treating. 
We know how unwillincj heads of families are to take 
servants by written characters, considering that writing 
is not minute and real enough for their purpose. 
Writing, of course, has special advantages, but it has its 
defects ; and other methods of information compensate for 
them. It must be recollected, too, as regards the New 
Testament, that it is not a technical document, like an 
act of Parliament, or a legal instrument, but is made up 
of various compositions, containing, more or less, the free 
and flowing course of thought of their respective writers. 
It is not worded with the scientific precision of a formal 
treatise, a creed, or a last will and testament. Now, 
works written in this natural style are especially liable to 
be interpreted by the reader, and to make an impression 
on him, not corresponding to the writer's intention, but 
to his own principles and feelings. The imagination 
draws the unknown or absent author in lineaments alto- 
gether different from the original. Did we suddenly see 
St. Peter or St. Paul, and heard him converse, most of 
us would not recognize, or even suspect him to be the 
Apostle. How disappointed we sometimes are at the 
sight of those of whom we have often heard, or whose 
writings we have often read ! We cannot believe we 
have the living author before us. Hence it is common 
to hear it said of intemperate partisans, " If you knew 
him, you really would like him ; he is so different from 
his mode of writing or speaking ;" others, on the other 
hand, meet with a person whom they have long admired 
through the medium of his works, and are quite morti- 


fied and annoyed that they Uke his conversation and his 
manners so Uttle. 

Unless my memory fails me of what I read years ago, 
a well-known authoress, lately deceased, supplies in her 
tales one or two instances in point. I recollect the de- 
scription of an old-fashioned, straightforward East Indian, 
who had for years corresponded with the widow of a 
friend in England, and from her letters had conceived a 
high opinion of her good sense and propriety of feeling. 
Then, as the story goes on to tell, he comes back to 
England, becomes acquainted with her, and, to his disap- 
pointment, is gradually made aware that she is nothing 
else than a worldly, heartless, and manoeuvring woman. 
The same writer draws elsewhere a very young lady, who, 
in the spirit of romance, has carried on a correspondence 
with another female, whom she never saw ; on the strength 
of which, from a conviction of the sympathy which must 
exist between them, she runs from home to join her, with 
the view of retiring with her for life to some secluded 
valley in Wales ; but is shocked to find, on meeting her, 
that after all she is vulgar, unattractive, and middle-aged. 
Were it necessaiy, numberless instances might be given 
to the purpose ; of mistakes, too, of every kind ; of per- 
sons, when seen, turning out different from their writings, 
for the better as well as for the worse, or neither for the 
better nor the worse, but still so different as to surprise 
us and make us muse ; different in opinion, or in prin- 
ciple, or in conduct, or in impression and effect. And 
thus Scripture, in like manner, though written under a 
supernatural guidance, is from the nature of the case, 
from the defect of human language, and the infirmity of 
the recipient, unable by itself to convey the real mind of 


its writers to all who read it. Instead of its forcing its 
meaning upon the reader, the reader forces his own 
meaning upon it, colours it with his own thoughts, and 
distorts it to his purposes ; so that something is evidently 
needed besides it, such as the teaching of the Church, 
to protect it from the false private judgment of the indi- 
vidual. And if this be true, when the whole New Testa- 
ment is contemplated, how much more certainly will it 
take place, when Protestants contract their reading pro- 
fessedly to only a part of it, as St. Paul's Epistles ; and 
then again, out of St. Paul, select the two Epistles to 
the Romans and Galatians; and still further, as is so 
common, confine themselves to one or two sentences, 
which constitute practically the whole of the Protestant 
written word ! Why, of course, it is very easy to put 
what sense they please on one or two verses ; and thus 
the religion of the Apostles may come in the event to 
mean any thing or nothing. 

Here, then, we are arrived at the subject on which I 
mean to remark this evening. Protestants judge of the 
Apostles' doctrine by " texts," as they are commonly 
called, taken from Scripture, and nothing more ; and 
they judge of our doctrine by " texts " taken from our 
writings, and nothing more. Picked verses, bits torn 
from the context, half sentences, are the vouchers of the 
Protestant idea, on the one hand, of Apostolic truth, 
and, on the other, of Catholic falsehood. As they have 
their chips and fragments of St. Paul and St. John, so 
have they their chips and fragments of Suarez and Bellar- 
mine ; and out of the former they make to themselves their 
own Christian religion, and out of the latter our Antichris- 
tian superstition. They do not ask themselves sincerely 
as a matter of fact and history, What did the Apostles 


teach then 1 nor do they ask sincerely and as a matter 
of fact, W/iat do Catholics teach now I they judge of the 
Apostles and they judge of us by scraps, and on these 
scraps they exert their private judgment, — that is, their 
prejudice, as I described two Lectures back, and their 
assumed principles, as I described in my foregoing Lec- 
ture ; and the process ends in their bringing forth, out 
of their scraps from the Apostles, what they call " Scrip- 
tural Religion," and out of their scraps from our theolo- 
gians, what they call Popery. 

The first Christians were a living body ; they were 
thousands of zealous, energetic men, who preached, dis- 
puted, catechised, and conversed from year''s end to year's 
end. They spoke by innumerable tongues, with one 
heart and one soul, all saying the same thing; all this 
multitudinous testimony about the truths of revelation, 
Protestants narrow down into one or two meagre sen- 
tences, which at their own will and pleasure they select 
from St. Paul, and at their own will and pleasure they 
explain, and call the Gospel. They do just the same 
thing with us ; Catholics, at least, have a lively illustra- 
tion and evidence of the absurdity of Protestant private 
judgment as exercised on the Apostolic writings, in the 
visible fact of its absurdity as exercised on themselves. 
They, as their forefathers, the first Christians, are a living 
body ; they, too, preach, dispute, catechise, converse 
with innumerable tongues, saying the same thing, as our 
adversaries confess, all over the earth. Well then, you 
would think the obvious way was, if they would know 
what we really teach, to come and ask us, to talk with 
us, to try to enter into our views, and to attend to our 
teaching. Not at all ; they do not dream of doing so ; 
ihey take their " texts ;" they have got their cut and 


dried specimens from our divines, Avhich the Protestant 
Tradition hands down from generation to generation ; 
and, as by the aid of their verses from Scripture, they 
think they understand the Gospel better than the first 
Christians, so by the help of these choice extracts from our 
works, they think they understand our doctrine better than 
we do ourselves. They will not allow us to explain our 
own books. So sure are they of their knowledge, and so su- 
perior to us, that they have no difficulty in setting us right, 
and in accounting for our contradicting them. Some- 
times Catholics are evasive and shuffling, which, of course, 
will explain every thing ; sometimes they simply have 
never been told what their creed really is ; the priest keeps 
it from them, and cheats them; as yet, too, perhaps they 
are recent converts, and do not know the actual state of 
things, though they will know in time. Thus Protestants 
judge us by their " texts ;"" and by " texts " I do not 
mean passages from our writers merely, but all those 
samples of whatever kind, historical, ecclesiastical, bio- 
graphical, or political, carefully prepared, improved, and 
finished off by successive artists for the occasion, which 
they think so much more worthy of credit and reliance as 
to facts, than us and our word, who are in the very com- 
munion to which those facts relate. Some good personal 
knowledge of us, and intercourse with us, not in the way 
of controversy and criticism, but what is prior, viz., in 
the way of sincere inquiry, in order to ascertain how 
things really lie, such knowledge and intercourse would 
be worth all the conclusions, however elaborate and subtle, 
from rumours, false witnessings, suspicions, romantic 
scenes, morsels of history, morsels of theology, morsels 
of our miraculous legends, morsels of our devotional 
writers, morsels from our individual members, whether 


unlearned or intemperate, which are the " text " of the 
traditional Protestant view against us. This, then, is the 
last of the causes, which in the course of these Lectures 
I shall assign, and on which this evening I shall insist, 
by way of accounting for the hatred and contempt shown 
towards the Catholics of England by their fellow-coun- 
trymen, viz., that the Catholics of England, as a body, 
are not personally known. 

I have already observed, that, in matters of this world, 
when a man would really get information on a subject, 
he eschews reports, and mistrusts understandings, and 
betakes himself to head-quarters. The best letters and 
travels about a foreign people are tame and dead com- 
pared with the view he gains by residence among them ; 
and when that has continued for a sufficient time, he per- 
ceives how unreal were even the first impressions, which, 
on his arriving, were made upon him by the successive 
accidents of the hour. Knowledge thus obtained cannot 
be communicated to others : it is imbibed and appro- 
priated by the mind as a personal possession ; an idea of 
the people among whom he lives is set up within him ; he 
may like them or not, but his perception is real, and, if 
any one questions it, he can but appeal to the circum- 
stance of his long residence in the country, and say he 
has a right to an opinion, which nevertheless he can but 
poorly and partially defend. He can but give his witness, 
and must be believed on his reputation. And surely, if 
he has a fair name for powers of observation and good 
sense, he may be believed without proof. He has wit- 
nessed what others argue about. He has contemplated 
the national character in life and in action, as it is brought 
out in its opinions, aims, sentiments, and dispositions in 


the course of the day and the year ; he has heard the 
words, seen the deeds, watched the manners, breathed 
the atmosphere, and so caught the true idea of the peo- 
ple ; — in other words, he has mastered their Tradition. 
This is what CathoHcs mean by Tradition, and why they 
go so much by it. It does not prove our doctrines to an 
observer, but it will tell him, in a way no other inform- 
ant can tell him, what our doctrines are. It has a sub- 
stance and a reality peculiar to itself ; for it is not a 
sample or specimen of us merely, but it is we, our think- 
ing, speaking, acting self; our principles, our judgments, 
our proceedings. What we hold, what we do not hold, 
what we like, what we hate, cannot all be written down, 
whether by us or by others ; you can have no daguerreo- 
type of intellect, affection, and will ; at best you have but 
a few bold strokes recorded for the benefit of others, ac- 
cording to the skill of the individual artist. Those who 
write books about a people or a school are hardly more 
than extempore sketchers ; or they paint from memory ; 
if you would have the real thing, what the men are, what 
they think, what they do, close your books, take a ticket 
by the first train, cross the channel, plunge in among 
them, drink them in. This is what is called painting 
from the life ; and what is here called life, the Catholic 
calls Tradition, which eclipses and supersedes, when and 
where it can be had, the amplest collection of " texts " 
and extracts about our doctrine and polity ever put to- 
gether by the ablest of compilers. 

Now let me quote some words of my own on this sub- 
ject, when I was a Protestant. As they are written in 
controversy with Catholics, they are so much more to my 
present purpose ; especially as I did not, when I wrote 
them, see their bearing on the point I am now insisting 


on. The passage is long, but its appositeness may ex- 
cuse it. 

" We hear it said," I then observed, " that they [the 
Catholics] go by Tradition ; and we fancy in consequence 
that there are a certain definite nmnher of statements 
ready framed and compiled^ which they profess to have 
received from the Apostles. One may hear the question 
sometimes asked, for instance, lohere their professed 
Traditions are to be found, whether there is any collection 
of them, and whether they are printed and published. 
Now, though they would allow that the Traditions of the 
Church are in fact contained in the writings of her 
Doctors, still this question proceeds on somewhat of a 
misconception of their real theory, which seems to be as 
follows : — By Tradition they mean the whole system of 
faith and ordinances, which they have received from the 
generation before them, and that generation again from 
the generation before itself. And in this sense un- 
doubtedly we all go by Tradition in matters of this world. 
Where is the corporation, society, or fraternity of any 
kind, but has certain received rules and understood prac- 
tices, which are no where put down in writing ? How 
often do we hear it said, that this or that person has 
' acted unusually;*' that so and so ' was never done be- 
fore ; ' that it is ' against rule,"' and the like ; and then, 
perhaps, to avoid the inconvenience of such irregularity 
in future, what was before a tacit engagement, is turned 
into a formal and explicit order or principle. The want 
of a regulation must be discovered before it is supplied ; 
and the virtual transgression of it goes before its 
adoption. At this very time, great part of the law of 
the land is administered under the sanction of such a 
Tradition : it is not contained in anv formal or autho- 


ritative code, it depends on custom or precedent. There 
is no explicit written law, for instance, simply declaring 
murder to be a capital offence, unless, indeed, we have 
recourse to the divine command in the ninth chapter of 
the book of Genesis. Murderers are hanged by custom. 
Such as this is the Tradition of the Church : Tradition 

is uniform custom It is silent, but it lives. It is 

silent, like the rapids of a river, before the rocks intercept 
it. It is the Church's .... habit of opinion and feeling, 
which she reflects upon, masters and expresses, ac- 
cording to the emergency. We see, then, the mistake 
of asking for a complete collection of the Roman Tra- 
ditions : as well might we ask for a collection of a man"'s 
tastes and opinions on a given subject. Tradition in its 
fulness is necessarily unwritten ; it is the mode in which 
a society has felt or acted during a certain period, and it 
cannot be circumscribed, any more than a man''s counte- 
nance and manner can be conveyed to strangers in any 
set of propositions \'" 

I see nothing to alter in these remarks, written many 
years before I became a Catholic ; and you see with 
what force they tell against the system of judging any 
body of men by extracts, passages, specimens, and say- 
ings, nay, even by their documents, if these are taken to 
be sufficient informants, instead of studying the hving 
body itself. For instance, there has been lately a good 
deal of surprise expressed in some quarters, though it is 
not likely to have attracted your attention, that the in- 
fallibility of the Church has never been decreed, whether 
in General Council or by other ecclesiastical authority, to 
be a Catholic doctrine. This has been put about as a 

' Prophetical Office, Lecture I. pp. 38—41. 


discovery, and an important one : and Catholics have 
been triumphantly asked, how it is that the tenet which 
is at the bottom of their whole system, is no where set 
down in writing and propounded for belief. But, in truth, 
there is neither novelty nor importance in the remark : 
on the one hand, it has been made again and again * ; 
and on the other, whenever it has been urged against us, 
it has been simply urged from ignorance, as I have 
already shown you, of the real state of the case. Is 
nothing true but what has been written down ? on the 
contrary, the whole Catholic truth has ever lived, and 
lived only, in the hearts and on the tongues of the Catholic 
people: and, while it is one mistake to think written 
documents sufficient, it is a second, as in this instance, 
to think Tradition too much. It is one mistake in the 
persons to whom I allude, to think that they know the 
Catholic faith ; a second, to think that they can teach it 
to us. Which party is more likely to be in possession of 
what Catholics believe, they or we ? There is a maxim 
commonly accepted, that " Every one is to be trusted in 
his own art ;" from which it would follow, that, as 
Frenchmen are the best masters of French, and pilots 
the best steersmen on the river. Catholics ought to know 
Catholicism better than other men. Military men do 
not show particular respect for the criticisms of civilians. 
As for amateur physicians, I suppose most of us would 
rather be doctored by the village nurse, who bhndly goes 
by tradition and teaching, than by a clever person, who, 
among other things, has dabbled in family vade-mecums 
and materia-medicas, abounds in theories and views, and 

^ E. g. By myself, though not in objection, in tlic work above quoted, 
Lecture X. p. 293. By Cressy, in Dr. Hammond's AA'orks, vol. ii. p. 635, 
two centuries ago. 


has a taste for experiments. Again, I have heard able 
men, who were not lawyers, impugn the institution of 
Trial by Jury ; and the answer to them has been, " You 
are not learned in the law, it works well." In like man- 
ner, a great statesman says of Protestant Clergymen, 
that they " understand least, and take the worst measure 
of human affairs, of all mankind that can write and read." 
Yet any one is thought qualified to attack, or to in- 
struct a Catholic in matters of his religion ; a country 
gentleman, a navy captain, a half- pay officer, with time 
on his hands, never having seen a Catholic, or a Catholic 
ceremonial, or a Catholic treatise, in his life, is competent, 
by means of one or two periodicals, and a set of Protes- 
tant extracts against Popery, to teach the Pope in his 
own religion, and refute a Council. 

Suarez, Vasquez, de Lugo, Lambertini, St. Thomas, 
St. Buenaventura, a goodly succession of folios on our 
shelves ! You would think the doctrine would take 
some time to master, which has occupied the lives and 
elicited the genius of some of the greatest masters of 
thought whom the world has known. Our Protestant, 
however, is sure there must be very little in such works, 
because there is so much of them. He has not studied 
our doctrines, he has not learned our terms ; he calls our 
theological language jargon, and he thinks the whole 
matter lies in a nutshell. He is ever mistaking one 
thing for another, and thinks it does not signify. Igno- 
rance in his case is the mother, not certainly of devotion, 
but of inconceivable conceit and preternatural injustice. 
If he is to attack or reply, up he takes the first specimen 
or sample of our doctrine, which the Reformation Society 
has provided, some dreadful sentiment of the Jesuit 
Bellarmine, or the schoolman Scotus. He has never 


turned to the passage in the original work, never verified 
it, never consulted the context, never construed its 
wording ; he blindly puts his own sense upon it, or the 
" authorized version" given to it by the Society in ques- 
tion, and boldly presents it to the British public, which is 
forthwith just as much shocked at it as he is. By means 
of a few words he does wonders ; like the Englishman in 
Sicily, who, when he could not get his mules by the ap- 
pliance of all the Italian he could command, fair or rough, 
at last effected his purpose by shouting out at the pitch 
of his voice to his host, who had never heard a word of 
English in his life, " Northumberland, Cumberland, 
Westmoreland, and Durham.*" 

Any thing is startling and grotesque, if taken out of 
its place, and surveyed without reference to the whole to 
which it belongs. The perfection of the parts lies in their 
subserviency to a whole ; and they often have no meaning 
except in their bearing upon each other. How can you 
tell whether a thing is good or bad, unless you know 
what it is intended for ? Protestants separate our state- 
ments from their occasions and their objects, and then 
ask the world what can be their meaning or their use. 
This is evident to any one whose intellect is not fettered 
to their particular party, and who does but take the trou- 
ble to consider Catholic doctrines, not as they are torn 
up by the roots or planted head downwards, but as they 
are found in our own gardens. I am tempted to quote a 
passage on the subject from a recent Review, which is as 
far as possible from showing any leaning to Catholicism. 
You will see how fully an impartial writer, neither Catholic 
nor Protestant, bears me out in what I have said : 

" A true British Pi'otestant,"''' he says, " whose notions 
of ' Popery' are limited to what he hears from an Evan- 


gelical curate, or has seen at the opening of a Jesuit 
Church, looks on the whole system as an obsolete mum- 
mery, and no more believes that men of sense can seri- 
ously adopt it, than that they will be converted to the 
pi'actice of eating their dinner with a Chinauian's chop- 
sticks instead of the knife and fork Few even 

of educated Englishmen have any suspicion of the depth 
and solidity of the Catholic dogma, its wide and various 
adaptation to wants ineffaceable from the human heart, 
its wonderful fusion of the supernatural into the natural 
life, its vast resources for a powerful hold upon the con- 
science. . . . Into this interior view, ho\\ever, the popular 
polemics neither give, nor have the slightest insight. . . . 
It is not among the ignorant and vulgar, but among the 
intellectual and imaginative ; not by appeals to the senses 
in worship, but by consistency and subtlety of thought, 
that in our days converts will be made to the ancient 

Church When a thoughtful man, accustomed to 

defer to historical authority, and competent to estimate 
moral theories as a whole, is led to penetrate beneath the 
surface, he is unprepared for the sight of so much specu- 
lative grandeur ; and if he have been a mere Anglican or 
Lutheran, is perhaps astonished into the conclusion that 
the elder system has the advantage in philosophy and 
antiquity alike '." 

You see how entirely this able writer, with no sort of 
belief in Catholicism, justifies what I have been saying. 
Fragments, extracts, specimens, convey no idea to the 
world of what we are ; he who wishes to know us, must 
condescend to study us. The Catholic doctrine is after all 
too great to be comfortably accommodated in a Protestant 
nutshell ; it cannot be surveyed at a glance, or refuted 

' Westminster Rfe view, Jan. 1851. 

D d 


by a syllogism : and what this author says of Catholic 
doctrine, applies to Catholic devotions also. Last week I 
made some observations on our miracles ; and I said that 
they would be scorned and rejected, or not, according as 
this or that first principle concerning them was taken for 
granted ; but now I am going to say more than this. I 
really think that, putting aside first principles, no one 
could read the lives of a number of our Saints, as St. 
Francis Xavier, or St. Philip Neri, with seriousness and 
attention, but would rise up from the perusal, — I do not 
say converted to Catholicism (that is a distinct matter, 
which I have kept apart throughout these Lectures), — 
but indisposed to renew the ridicule and scorn in which 
he had indulged previously. One isolated miracle looks 
strange, but many interpret each other : this or that, 
separated from the system of which they are a part, may 
be perfectly incredible ; but when they are viewed as por- 
tions of a whole, they press upon the inquirer a feeling, I 
do not say of conviction simply, but of wonder, of per- 
plexity, and almost of awe. When you consider the vast 
number which are recorded, for instance, in the Life of 
St. Philip, their variety, their exuberance in a short 
space of time, the circumstantial exactness with which 
they are recorded, the variety and multitude of witnesses 
and attestations which occur in the course of the narra- 
tive, the thought will possess you, even though you are 
not yet able to receive them, that fraud or credulity is no 
sufficient account of them. No skill could invent so 
many, so rapidly, so consistently, and so naturally ; and 
you are sensible, and you confess, that, whatever be the 
truth of the matter, you have not got to the bottom of 
it. You have ceased to contemn, you have learnt to 


And so again I would say of any book, which lets you 
into the private life of personages who have had any great 
deal to do with the government of the Church ; which 
brings you, so to say, behind the scenes, where all pre- 
tence is impossible, and where men appear what they 
are, it is simply impossible, or at least it would be as 
good as a miracle, for any one to study such works, and 
still consider that the Pope was the man of sin, and the 
Mother of Saints a Jezebel. You see that Popes and 
Cardinals and Prelates are not griffins and wiverns, 
but men ; good men, or bad men, or neither one nor the 
other, as the case may be ; bold men, or weak men, 
worldly men or unworldly, but still men. They have 
human feelings, human affections, human virtues, human 
anxieties, human hopes and joys, whatever higher than 
human excellences a Catholic of course would ascribe to 
them. They are no longer, as before, the wild beasts, 
or the frogs, or the locusts, or the plagues of the Apo- 
calypse ; such a notion, if you have ever entertained 
it, is gone for ever. You feel it to have been a ridiculous 
illusion, and you laugh at it. For instance, I would take 
such a book as Cardinal Pacca''s Memoirs of Pope Pius 
the VII.'s captivity. Here is a book of facts ; here is a 
narrative, simple and natural. It does not give you the 
history of a hero or of a saint ; but of a good, religious 
man, who would have rather died any moment than 
offend God ; who had an overpowering sense of his re- 
sponsibility, yet a diffidence in his own judgment, which 
made him sometimes err in his line of conduct. Here, 
too, is vividly brought out before you, what we mean by 
papal infallibility, or rather what we do not mean by it : 
you see how the Pope was open to any mistake, as others 
may be, in his own person, true as it is, that, whenever 

D d 2 


he spoke ex cathedra on subjects of revealed truth, he 
spoke as its divinely ordained expounder. It is difficult 
to bring this home to you by any extracts from a work 
like this ; and I shall be perhaps falling into the very 
fault I am exposing if I attempt to do so ; yet I can 
hardly refrain to ask, whether passages such as the 
following can be said to fit in with the received Pro- 
testant Tradition of the Pope, as a sort of diabolical 
automaton, spouting out sin and wickedness by the 
necessity of his nature. 

When Pope Pius and Cardinal Pacca were carried off 
by the French from Rome, as they sat in the carriage, 
" The Pope," says the Cardinal, " a few minutes after- 
wards, asked me, whether I had with me any money : to 
which I replied, ' Your Holiness saw that I was arrested 
in your own apartments, so that I have had no opportu- 
nity of providing myself."* We then both of us drew 
forth our purses, and, notwithstanding the state of 
affliction we were in at being thus torn away from Rome 
and all that was dear to us, we could hardly compose our 
countenances, on finding the contents of each purse to 
consist, in that of the Pope of one papetto (about 10c?.), 
and in mine three grossi {l\d.). Thus the Sovereign of 
Rome and his Prime Minister, set forth upon their jour- 
ney, literally, without figure of speech or metaphor, in 
true Apostolic style, conformable with the precept of our 
Saviour addressed to his disciples : ' Take nothing for 
your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, 
neither money ; neither have two coats apiece/ We 
were without eatables, and we had no clothes except 
those we wore, not even a shirt ; and the habits, such as 

they were, were most inconvenient for travelling 

With regard to money, we had precisely thirty-five 


baiocchi (halfpence) between us. The Pope, extending 
his hand, showed his papetto to General Radet, saying, 
at the same time, ' Look here ; this is all I possess, all 
that remains of my principality *.'' " 

Or take a^ain the account of the Pontiff's conduct 
after having been betrayed into signing the unhappy 
Concordat with Napoleon. " The Pope, so long as the 
Emperor remained at Fontainebleau, manifested no out- 
ward appearance of the feelings that agitated his heart, 
with regard to what had happened ; but, so soon as 
Napoleon was gone, he fell into a state of profound de- 
spondency, and was attacked by fever. Conversing with 
the Cardinals . . . and discussing the subject of the ar- 
ticles to which he had just affixed his signature, he at 
once saw by the undisguised expression of their counte- 
nances, the fatal consequences likely to be the fruit of 
that ill-advised deed, and became so horror-struck and 
afflicted in consequence, that for several days he abstained 
from the celebration of the holy sacrifice, under the im- 
pression that he had acted unworthily. . . . Perceiving 
the general disapprobation, and, as it were, shudder of 
the public mind among all religious, well-conducted per- 
sons, he fell into that hopeless state of deep melancholy, 
which I before attempted to describe, on the occasion of 
my arrival at Fontainebleau '." " At first sight of the 
Holy Father, I was thoroughly shocked and astonished 
to see how pale and emaciated he had become, how his 
body was bent, how his eyes were fixed and sunk in his 
head, and how he looked at me with, as it were, the glare 
of a man grown stupid. . . . The solitude and silence of 
the place, the expression of sadness that appeared on 

* Head's Pacca,vol. i. i.. lo/- ' H i'l- vol. iJ. p. 143. 


every countenance, added to the recent spectacle of pro- 
found grief I had witnessed in the person of the Pope, 
and, above all, the unexpectedly cold reception I had ex- 
perienced from his Holiness, occasioned me a degree of 
surprise, and a sorrowful compression of heart, that it is 
far more easy for an indifferent person to imagine than 
for myself to describe. . . . He was . . overwhelmed by 
a depression of spirits the most profound, so much so, 
that in the course of speaking to me of what had hap- 
pened, he frequently broke forth in the most plaintive 
ejaculations, saying, among many other similarly inter- 
jectional expressions, that the thought of what had been 
done tormented him continually, that he could not get it 
out of his mind, that he could neither rest by day, nor 
sleep by night ; that he could not eat more than barely 
sufficient to sustain life ®." 

Then observe the difference, after he had retracted the 
deed which distressed him so much, though at the very 
time he was anticipating the utmost fury of Napoleon in 
consequence, whose prisoner he was. " There suddenly 
appeared in his person and countenance an unexpected 
alteration. Previously, the profound grief, in which, as I 
have before stated, he was continually immersed, was 
consuming him day by day, and was deeply imprinted on 
his features, which now, on the contrary, became all at 
once serene, and, as he gradually recovered his usual 
gaiety of spirits, were occasionally animated by a smile. 
Neither did he any longer complain of loss of appetite, 
or of the inquietude and agitation that every night, for a 
considerable time before, had interrupted his repose ^" 

These passages put one in mind of the beautiful stoiy 

• HcaJ't Pacca, vol. i. p. 406. "> Ibid. vol. ii. p. 187. 


told in the Breviary of a far greater fault, the fall of Pope 
Marcellinus. " In the monstrous Diocletian persecu- 
tion," says the Lesson, " Marcellinus, overcome with 
terror, sacrificed to the idols of the gods ; for which sin 
he soon conceived so great repentance, that he came in 
sackcloth to Sinuessa, to a full council of Bishops, 
where, with abundant tears, he openly confessed his crime. 
Whom, however, none dare condemn, but all with one 
voice cried out, Thy own mouth, not our judgment, be 
thy judge, for the first See is judged by none. Peter, 
too, by a like infirmity of mind, failed, and by like 
tears obtained pardon from God. Then he returned 
to Rome, went to the Emperor, severely reproached him 
for tempting him to that impiety, and with three others 
was beheaded." 

Popes, then, though they are infallible in their office, 
as Prophets and Vicars of the Most High, and though 
they have generally been men of holy life, and many 
of them actually saints, have the trials, and incur the 
I'isks, of other men. Our doctrine of infallibility means 
something very different from what Protestants think it 
means. And so again, all the inconsistencies which they 
think they find in what we say of the sanctity of the 
Priesthood compared with the actual conduct of a portion 
of the members of it, would vanish, if they understood 
that a priest, in a Catholic sense, as also in St. Paul'*s, 
is one " who can have compassion on the ignorant, and 
on them that err, for that he himself also is encom- 
passed with infirmity." Yet, strange to say, so little are 
they aware of our real doctrine on the subject, that even 
since these Lectures began, it has been said to me about 
them, " A vulgar error in your Church is, that the Priests 
are so divinely protected, that one of them can hardly 

S24 WANT Of iNTKncouusK wrrii catholics 

err, can hardly sin. This notion is now at an end, as far 
as you are concerned." Most marvellous ! This writer's 
idea, and the idea of most Protestants is, that we profess 
that all Priests are angels, but that really they are devils. 
Neither the one nor the other ; if these Protestants came 
to us and asked, they would find that we taught a differ- 
ent doctrine, viz., that Priests were mortal men, who 
were entrusted with high gifts for the good of the people, 
that they might err as other men, that they would fall if 
they were not watchful, that in various times and places 
large numbers had ftillen, so much so, that the Priest- 
hood of whole countries had before now apostatized, as 
happened in great measure in England three centuries 
ago, and that at all times there was a small remnant 
scattered about of priests who did not live up to their 
faith and their profession ; still, that on the whole, they 
had been, as a body, the salt of the earth and the light 
of the world, through the power of divine grace, and, in 
spite of the frailty of human nature, had fulfilled the 
blessed purposes of their institution. 

But not in one or two points merely, but in every thing 
we think and say and do, as Catholics, were we but known, 
what a reformation would there at once follow in the 
national mind in respect to us ! British fair dealing and 
good sense would then recover their supremacy ; and 
Maria Monks and Teodores would find their occupation 
gone. We should hear no more of the laity being led 
blindfold, of their being forced to digest impossibilities 
under menace of perdition, of their struggles to get loose 
continually overmastered by their superstition, and of 
their heart having no part in their profession. The 
spectres of tyranny, hypocrisy, and fraud would flit away 
\vith the moi'ning light. There would be no more dread 


of being burned alive by Papists, or of the gutters over- 
flowing with Protestant blood. Dungeons, racks, pulleys, 
and quick lime would be like the leavings of a yesterday's 
revel. Nor would the political aims and plots and in- 
trigues, so readily imputed to us, seem more substantial ; 
and though, I suppose, there is lying, and littleness, and 
over-reaching, and rivalry, to be found among us as among 
other sons of Adam, yet the notion that we monopolized 
these vile qualities, or had more than our share of them, 
would be an exploded superstition. This indeed would 
be a short and easy way, not of making Protestants Catho- 
lics, but of reversing their ridiculous dreams about us, — I 
mean, if they actually saw what they so interminably 
argue about. But it is not to be ; first comes in the way 
that very love of arguing and of having an opinion, to 
which my last words have alluded. Men would be sorry 
indeed that the controversy should be taken from the 
region of argument and transferred to that of fact. They 
like to think as they please ; and, as they would by no 
means welcome St. Paul, did he come from heaven to tell 
them what his " text" in Romans iii. or Galatians ii. ac- 
tually did mean, so they would think it a hardship to be told 
that they must not continue to maintain and to prove that 
we were what their eyes then would tell them we were not. 
And then, too, dear scandal and romancing put in their 
claim ; how would the world go on, and whence would 
come its staple food and its cheap luxuries, if Catholicism 
were taken from the market ? Why, it would be like the 
cotton crop failing, or a new tax put upon tea. And 
then, too, comes prejudice, " like the horseleech, crying. 
Give, give ;" how is prejudice to exist without Catholic 
iniquities and enormities? prejudice, which could not fast 
for a day, which would be in torment inexpressible, ami- 


call it Popish persecution, to be kept on meagre for a 
Lent, and would shake down Queen and Parliament with 
the violence of its convulsions, rather than it should 
never suck a Catholic's sweet bones and drink his blood 
any more. 

Prejudice and hatred, political party, animosities of race 
and country, love of gossip and scandal, private judgments, 
resentments, sensitive jealousies, these and a number 
of bad principles besides, extending through the country, 
present an almost insuperable obstacle to our obtaining 
a fair hearing and receiving a careful examination. There 
are other feelings, too, not so bad, I would trust, for be- 
fore now I have participated in them myself, but equally 
drawing a cordon between Catholics and the rest of the 
population. One, for instance, is the motive frequently 
influencing those who really feel a great drawing towards 
the Catholic Church, though they are unable to accept 
her doctrines, and who, wishing to act, not by affection 
or liking or fancy, but by reason, are led to dread lest the 
impulses of love, gratitude, admiration, and devotion 
which they feel within them, should overcome in their 
hearts the claims of truth and justice, and decide the 
matter peremptorily for them, if they subjected them- 
selves to an intercourse with Catholics. And another 
consideration weighs with Protestants who are in a re- 
sponsible situation in their own communion, or are its 
ministers and functionaries. These persons feel that, while 
they hold office in a body which is at war with Catholics, 
they are as little at Hberty to go among them, even with 
the open avowal of their differing from them, as an 
English officer or a member of Parliament may lawfully 
correspond with the French Government during a time 
of hostilities. These various motives, and others besides, 


better and worse, are, I repeat, almost an insuperable 
barrier in the way of any real and familiar intercourse 
between Protestants and ourselves ; and they act, in 
consequence, as the means of perpetuating what may 
be considered the chief negative cause, and the simplest 
explanation, of the absurdities so commonly enter- 
tained about us by all classes of society. Personal 
intercourse, then, being practically just as much out of 
the question with us, as with the Apostles themselves or 
the Jewish pi'ophets, Protestantism has nothing left for 
it, when it would argue about us, but to have recourse to 
its " texts," its chips, shavings, brickbats, potsherds, and 
other odds and ends of the Heavenly City, which form the 
authenticated and ticketed specimens, of what Catholics 
are, in its great national Museum. 

I am complaining of nothing which I do not wish 
myself to avoid in dealing with my opponents. I wish 
them to be judged by their traditions; and in these 
Lectures I have steadily kept in view the Elizabethan 
Tradition, and wished to consider it the centre and the life 
of all they say and do. If I select their words or their 
acts, I wish to throw myself into them, and determine 
what they mean by the light of this informing principle. 
And I have means of doing so, which many others have 
not, having been a Protestant myself. I have stood on 
their ground ; and would always aim at handling their 
arguments, not as so many dead words, but as the words 
of a speaker, in a particular state of mind, which must 
be experienced, or witnessed, or explored, if it is to be 
understood. Calvin, for instance, somewhere calls his 
own doctrine, that souls are lost without their own free 
will by the necessity of divine predestination, horrible ; 
at least, so he is said to do, for I do not know his writ- 


ings myself. Now I conceive he never can really say 
this ; I conceive he uses the Latin word in the sense of 
fearful or awful, and that to make him say " horrible" is 
the mere unfairness of some Lutheran adversary, who 
will not enter into his meaning. This is to go by the 
letter, not by the spirit ; by the text, not by the tradi- 
tion. The lawyers, again, as I noticed in my first Lec- 
ture, speak of the " Omnipotence of Parliament ;" I 
never will be so unjust to them as to take them literally. 
I am perfectly sure that it never entered into the head 
of any Speaker, or Prime Minister, or Serjeant-at-Arms, 
to claim any blasphemous prerogative for the Two 
Houses. Those officials all feel intensely, I am sure, that 
they are but feeble and imperfect creatures, and would 
laugh at any one who shuddered at their use of a phrase 
which has a parliamentary sense as well as a theological. 
Now I only claim to be heard in turn with the same can- 
dour which I exemplify so fully, when I speak myself 
of the omnipotence of the Blessed Virgin. When such 
an expression is used by a Catholic, he would be as in- 
dignant as a member of Parliament to find it perverted 
by an enemy from the innocent sense in which he used 
it. Parliament is omnipotent, as having the power to do 
what it will, not in France, or in Germany, or in Russia, 
much less all over the earth, much less in heaven, but 
within the United Kingdom ; and in like manner the 
Blessed Virgin is called omnipotent, as being able to 
gain any thing she desires by prayer. Prayer is called 
omnipotent in Scripture ; and she in consequence, as 
being the chief intercessor among creatures, is called 
omnipotent too. And the same remark applies to a great 
number of other words in Catholic theology. When the 
Church is called " holy," it is not meant that her autho- 


rities are always good men, though nothing is more com- 
mon with Protestants than so to suppose. " Woi'ship," 
again, is another term, which is commonly misunder- 
stood ; " indulgence'*' is another ; " merit," " intention," 
" scandal," " religion," " obedience," all have their own 
senses, which our opponents must learn from Catholics, 
and cannot well find out for themselves. 

I have a good old woman in my eye, who, to the 
great amusement of all hearers, goes about saying that 
her priest has given her "absolution for a week." What 
a horrid story for Exeter Hall ! Here is a poor crea- 
ture, with one foot in the grave, who is actually assured 
by her confessor, doubtless for some due pecuniary consi- 
deration, that, for a week to come, she may commit 
any sort of enormity to which she is inclined with im- 
punity. Absolution for a week ! then, it seems, she has 
discounted, if I may so speak, her prospective confes- 
sions, and may lie, thieve, drink, and swear for a whole 
seven days with a clear conscience ! But now what does 
she really mean ? I defy a Protestant to get the mean- 
ing out of the words, even if he wished to be fair ; he 
must come to us for it. She means, then, that she has 
leave to communicate for a week to come, on her usual 
days of communion, whatever be their number, without 
coming to confession before each day. But how can her 
words have this meaning ? in this way, as you know, my 
Brothers, well. Catholics are not bound to come to con- 
fession before communion, (unless they have committed 
some greater sin,) nor are they commonly advised by their 
priests to come every time, though they often do come. 
When, then, she said she had got absolution for a week, 
she meant to express, that the priest had told her that 
her once going to confession would be often enough, in 


spite of her many communions during a week to come, 
supposing (which was not to be expected in so pious a 
woman) she fell into no great sin. You see how many 
words it takes duly to unfold the meaning of one fami- 
liar expression. 

This instance of Popish profligacy has not yet got into 
the Protestant prints ; but there are others, not unlike 
it, which before now have made a great noise in the 
world. I will give you an instance of a mistake, not, 
indeed, as to a colloquialism, but as to the force of a 
technical phrase. When forms are often repeated, at 
length they are shortened ; every schoolboy knows this 
in learning geometry, where at first every word of the 
process of proof is supplied with formal exactness, and 
then, as the treatise advances, the modes of expressions 
are abbreviated. Many of our familiar words are abbre- 
viations of this sort ; such is an " omnibus ;" again, a 
" stage," in the sense of a stage coach ; we talk of the 
"rail," when we mean the "railroad;" we speak of 
" laying the table" for dinner, when we mean " laying the 
cloth on the table ;" and a king''s levy, properly means 
his " rising in the morning," but is taken to mean his 
showing himself to his nobles and others who come to 
pay him their respects. And so in Catholicism the word 
" penance," which properly means repentance, often 
stands for the punishment annexed to the repentance. 
And in like manner " to absolve from sin" is a phrase 
which sometimes means one of two things quite distinct 
from real absolution. Sometimes it means nothing else 
but to remit the punishment of sin ; and sometimes it 
means to ohsohe externally or to reconcile to the Church, 
in the sense in which I explained the phrase in a previous 
Lecture. Now you know an Indulgence does one of 


these two things ; it is either an outward reconciliation, 
or the remission of the punishment remaining after pardon 
of the sin ; but it never is absolution, or pardon itself. 
At the same time it is quite certain that, as far as words 
go, Indulgences have sometimes been drawn up in such a 
form, as conveys to a Protestant reader the idea of real 
pardon, which they always presuppose or precede, and never 
convey. To a person who is not pai'doned, and pardoned 
he cannot be without repentance, an Indulgence * does no 
good whatever ; an Indulgence supposes the person re- 
ceiving it to be absolved and in a state of grace, and then 
it remits to him the punishment which remains due to his 
past sins of whatever kind, but that this is really the 
meaning, a Protestant will as little gather from the form 
of words in which it has been sometimes drawn up, as 
he would gather from the good old soul's words cited 
just now, that " absolution"" means *' leave to go to com- 
munion.'"* If Protestants will not take their information 
from Catholics on points such as this, but are determined 
to judge for themselves and to insist on the letter, there 
is no help for it. 

And the same remark in a measure applies to another 
expression to be found in Indulgences. In TetzePs 
famous form at the beginning of the Reformation, we 
read as follows : " shouldest thou not presently die, let 
this grace remain in full force, and avail thee at the point 
of death."" On this Dr. Waddington, ordinarily a cau- 
tious as well as candid writer, observes ; " [it cannot] be 
disputed that it conferred an entire absolution, not only 

* i. e. Indulgence in the second of the two senses, which is the common 
one, of a remission of punishment. In the former sense, wliich is un- 
usual (vid. Fen-aris, Biblioth., art. Indulg., App. § 6.), it has been con- 
sidered in Lecture III. 


from all past, but also from all future sins. It is impos- 
sible with any shadow of reason to affix any other 
meaning to the concluding paragraph ",*" which is the one 
I have quoted. Reason : how can reason help you here ? 
could you have found out that " absolution " meant 
" leave for communion" by reason ? Some things are 
determined by reason, others by sense, and others by 
testimony. We go to dictionaries for information of one 
kind, and to gazetteers for information of another. No 
one discovers the price of stocks, ministerial measures, 
or the fashions of the year, by reason. Whatever is 
spontaneous, accidental, variable, self-dependent, whatever 
is objective, we must go out of ourselves to determine. 
And such, for instance, is the force of language, such 
the use of formulas, such the value of theological terms. 
You learn pure English by reading classical authors and 
mixing in good society. Go then, to those with whom 
such terms are familiar, who are masters of the science 
of them, and they will read the above sentence for you, 
not by reason, but by the usage of the Church ; and 
they will read it thus. " If thou diest not now, but time 
hence, this Indulgence will then avail thee, that is, in 
that case in which alone an Indulgence ever can avail, 
i. e. provided that thou then art in a state of grace." 
There is no prospective pardon in the words so ex- 
plained ; an indulgence has nothing to do with pardon ; 
it is an additional remission upon and after pardon, being 
the I'emission of the arrears of suffering due from those 
who are already pardoned. If on receipt of this Indul- 
gence, the recipient rushed into sin, the benefit of the 
Indulgence would simply be suspended till he repented, 

" Reforiiiatiou, vol. i. y. 27. 


went to confession, and gained a new spirit. If he was 
found in this state of pardon and grace at the point of 
death, then it would avail him at the point of death. Then, 
that pardon, which his true repentance would gain him in 
the sacrament of penance, would be crowned by the 
further remission of punishment through the Indulgence, 
not otherwise. If, however, a controversialist says that 
a common CathoHc cannot possibly understand all this, 
that is a question of fact, not of reason ; it does not 
stand to reason that he cannot ; reason does not come 
in here. I do not say he will express himself with 
theological accuracy, but he knows perfectly well that 
an Indulgence is no pardon for prospective sin, no 
standing pardon for a state of sin. If you think he does 
not, come and see. That is my key note from first to 
last ; come and see, instead of remaining afar off, and 
judging by reason. 

There are Protestant books, explaining difiicult pas- 
sages of the Old Testament by means of present manners 
and customs among the Orientals ; a very sensible pro- 
ceeding, and well deserving of imitation by Protestants 
in the case before us ; let our obscure words and forms be 
interpreted by the understandings and habits of the 
Catholic people. On the other hand, in Dean Swift's 
well-known tale, you have an account of certain philo- 
sophers of Laputa, who carried their head under their 
arm. These sagacious persons seldom made direct use 
of their senses, but acted by reason ; a tailor, for 
instance, who has to measure for a suit of clothes, I 
think, is described not as taking out his measures, but 
his instruments, quadrant, telescope, and the like. He 
measured a man as he would measure a mountain or a 
bog ; and he ascertained his build and his carriage, as 

E e 


he might determine the right ascension of Syrius or the 
revolution of a comet. It was but a vulgar way to handle 
and turn about the living subject who was before him ; so 
our Laputan retreated, pulled out his theodolite instead 
of his slips of paper, and made an observation from a 
distance. It was a grand idea to make a coat by private 
judgment and a theodolite ; and, depend upon it, when 
it came home, it did not fit. Our Protestants wield the 
theodolite too ; they keep at a convenient distance from 
us, take the angles, calculate the sines and cosines, and 
work out an algebraic process, when common sense 
\vould bid them ask us a few questions. They obsei*ve 
latitude and longitude, the dip of the needle, the state 
of the atmosphere ; our path is an orbit, and our locus 
is expressed by an equation. They communicate with 
ns by gestures, as you talk to the deaf and dumb ; 
and they are more proud of doing something, right or 
wrong, by a ceremony of this kind, than of having the 
learning of the Benedictines or the Bollandists, if they 
are to go to school for it. 

Open their tracts or pamphlets at random, and you 
will not have long to look for instances ; — a priest is 
told one afternoon, that a parishioner wishes to go to 
confession. He breaks off what he is doing, disappointed, 
perhaps, at the interruption, rushes into Church, takes 
up his stole, and turns his ear towards his penitent. It 
is altogether a matter of routine work with him, with a 
lifting lip indeed of the heart to his Maker and Lord, 
but still a matter too familiar to make any great impres- 
sion on him, beyond that of his knowing he is called to 
a serious duty, which he must discharge to the best of 
his lability. A scripture reader, or some such personage 
opens the door, and peeps in ; he perceives what is going 


on, and stands gazing. What is his comment ? I wish 
I had kept the paragraph, as I read it ; but it was to 
this effect, — " I saw a priest with a poor wretch at his 
feet — how like a god he looked ! " Can any thing, my 
Brothers, be more unreal, more fantastic ? Yet all this 
comes of standing gazing at the door. 

How many are the souls, in distress, anxiety, or lone- 
liness, whose one need is to find a being t.o whom they 
can pour out their feelings unheard by the world ? Tell 
them they must, they cannot tell them to those whom they 
see every hour. They want to tell them and not to tell 
them ; and they want to tell them out, yet be as if they 
had not told ; they wish to tell them to one who is strong 
enough to bear them, yet not too strong to despise them ; 
they wish to tell them to one who can at once advise and 
can sympathize with them ; they wish to relieve them- 
selves of a load, to gain a solace, to receive the assurance 
there is one who thinks of them, and one to whom in 
thought they can recur, to whom they can betake them- 
selves, if necessary, from time to time, while they are in 
the world. How many a Protestanfs heart would leap 
at the news of such a benefit, putting aside all distinct 
ideas of a sacramental ordinance, or of the grant of par- 
don, and the conveyance of grace ! If there is a heavenly 
idea in the Catholic Church, looking at it simply as an 
idea, surely, next after the Blessed Sacrament, such is 
Confession. And such is it ever found in fact ; the very 
act of kneeling, the low and contrite voice, the sign of the 
cross hanging, so to say, over the head bowed low, and 
the words of peace and blessing. O, what a soothing 
charm is there, which the world can neither give nor take 
away ! O what piercing, heart-subduing tranquillity, pro- 
voking tears of joy, is poured, almost substantially and 
F, e 2 


physically upon the soul, the oil of gladness, as Scripture 
calls it, when the penitent at length rises, his God recon- 
ciled to him, his sins rolled away for ever ! This is con- 
fession as it is in fact ; as those bear witness to it, 
who know it by experience ; what is it in the language of 
the Protestant ? His language is, I may say, maniacal ; 
listen to his ravings, as far as I dare quote them, about 
what he knows just as much of as the blind of colours : 
"If I could follow my heart wherever it would go," he cries 
about the priest, " I would go into his dark and damnable 
confessional, where my poor Roman Catholic countrymen 
intrust their wives and daughters to him, under the awful 
delusion of false religion ; and, while the tyrant is press- 
ing his . . . infernal investigation, putting the heart and 
feeling of the helpless creature on the moral rack, till she 
sink enslaved and powerless at his feet, I would drag the 
victim forth in triumph from his grasp, and ring in the 
monster''s ear. No Popery." . 

These are the words of a fanatic; but grave, sober men 
can in their own way say things quite as absurd, quite as 
opprobz'ious. There is a gentleman \ who, since these 
Lectures began, has opened a public correspondence with 
me ; I quoted from him just now. One of his principal 
points, to which he gave his confident adhesion, was 
this, that at least one in twelve of our Priests in large 
towns doubts or disbelieves. How did he prove it ? A 
conscientious person does not advance grave charges 
against others, much less the gravest possible, without the 
best of reasons. Even to think ill of others, without suffi- 

' Mr. Sealey, the reputed author of several able works. The wider 
his name and his charge against us are circulated, the better for the 
cause of truth. Neither the one nor the other should be hushed up. 


cient cause, is, in a Catholic's estimation, an offence ; but 
to speak out to the world a proposition such as this, dis- 
tinctly to accuse his neighbour of the worst of crimes, is 
either a great duty or a great sin. The proof, too, should 
be proportionate to the imputation. And that the more, 
because he went further than I have yet said ; he actually 
singled out a place ; he named Birmingham, and he in- 
sinuated that such infidels or sceptics were found among 
the priests of this very town. Well then, we must sup- 
pose he speaks on the best authority ; he has come to 
Birniingham, he knows the priests, he has some distinct 
evidence. He accuses us of a sin which includes blas- 
phemy, sacrilege, hypocrisy, fraud, and virtually immo- 
rality, besides its own proper heinousness, which is of the 
first order, and he must have, of course, reason for what 
he says. What then is his method of proof ? simply the 
Laputan. He brandishes his theodolite, he proves us 
proud rebels against our God and odious impostors to- 
wards men by mathematics ; he draws out a rule of three 
sum on paper, and leaves us to settle with it as we may. 
He argues, that, because France had a body of infidel 
priests in last century, who did not disguise themselves, 
because Spain had a knot of infidels who did, for fear of 
the Inquisition, therefore now in England, where nothing 
is heard of infidelity and where there is nothing to frighten 
it into silence^ it exists in every large town. Moreover, 
because there were infidel priests in the special 1 8th cen- 
tury, therefore there are infidel priests in the 19th. Fur- 
ther, because there were in France fifty or sixty or a hun- 
dred infidels among 380,000 ecclesiastics, and a sprinkling 
in Spain among 125,000, that there are in England 
infidels now in the proportion of one to twelve. To this 
evidence, he added a few cases, true or false, at home or 


abroad, which it was impossible to examine or refute, of 
a professedly recent date ; and on these grounds he ven- 
tured forth with his definite assertion, simply satisfied of 
its truth, its equity, and its charitableness. 

And now for something, if not more wonderful, at least 
more observable still. After thus speaking, he was sur- 
prised I should consider it "a charge,'''' and a charge against 
the priests of Birmingham. He complains, that is, that 
I have given a personal turn to his assertion. Ah, true ; 
I ought to have remembered that Catholic priests, in the 
judgment of a good Protestant, are not persons at all. 
I had forgotten, what I have already said, in the First 
of these Lectures ; we are not men, we have not charac- 
ters to lose, we have not feelings to be wounded, we have 
not friends, we have not penitents, we have not congre- 
gations ; we have nothing personal about us, we are not 
the fellow-creatures of our accusers, we are not gentle- 
men, we are not Christians ; we are abstractions, we are 
shadows, we are heraldic emblazonments, we are the 
griffins and wiverns of the old family picture, we are stage 
characters with a masque and a dagger, we are mummies 
from Egypt or antediluvian ornithorynchi, we are unresist- 
ing ninepins, to be set up and knocked down by every 
mischievous boy ; we are the John Doe and Richard Roe 
of the lawyers, the Titius and Bertha of the canonists, 
who come forth for every occasion, and are to endure 
any amount of abuse or of misfortune. Did the figures 
come down from some old piece of tapestry, or were a Hon 
rampant from an inn door suddenly to walk the streets, 
a Protestant would not be more surprised than at the 
notion that we have nerves, that we have hearts, that 
we have sensibilities. For we are but the frogs in the 
fable ; " What is your sport," they said to the truant 


who was pelting them, " is our destruction :" yes, it is our 
portion from the beginning, it is our birthright, though 
not quite our destruction, to be the helots of the pride 
of the world. 

But more remains to be said. It often may happen, 
in matters of research, not indeed when the rule of charity 
comes in, but in philosophical subjects and the like, that 
we are obliged to make use of indirect reasonings, in de- 
fault of testimony and fact. That was not so here. 
There was evidence, to a considerable extent, the other 
way. Now observe this, my Brothers. You know how 
anxious the Protestant world is to get hold of any priest 
who has left the Catholic body ; why I because he would 
tell them facts about it ; certainly, Protestants are not 
always indifferent about facts ; that is, when they hope 
they will tell against us. Well, they go to this priest or 
that monk, who has transferred himself to Protestantism, 
in order to get all the information about us they can. 
Now are Protestantizing priests and monks the only 
evidence of the kind which they could get on the sub- 
ject ? Frenchmen who come from France are evidence 
about France ; but are not Englishmen who go to 
France evidence too I If some persons come from 
Rome, have none gone to Rome ? and have not they 
too something to offer in the way of evidence? Yes, 
surely, they have much to say about Catholic priests. 
It was offered to the gentleman of whom I am speak- 
ing; it was offered, and it was not accepted. He 
who could argue by wholesale from the instance of a 
Catholic priest doubting of Catholicism, would learn no- 
thing from the direct word of a Protestant who had 
become a Catholic Priest. The one was the pregnant 


germ of an arbitrary deduction, the other was no credible 
testimony to a fact. 

Now, my Brothers, I should not insist on all this, if it 
merely related to any personal matter of mine ; but, you 
see, it affords a very observable illustration of the point 
on which I am insisting, viz., that to know Catholics is the 
best refutation of what is said against them. You are 
aware, then, that a number of highly educated Protestants 
have of late years joined the Catholic Church. If their 
former co-religionists desired to have some real and good 
information what Catholics are like, they could not have 
better than that which these persons had to offer. They 
had belonged to a system which allowed of the largest 
private judgment, and they had made use of their liberty. 
They had made use of it first to reject the Protestantism 
of the day, and to recur back to another form of Protes- 
tantism which was in some repute two hundred years ago. 
Further, they used their liberty to attack the See of 
Kome, so firmly were they persuaded that the Popedom 
was not a divine institution. No one can say they did 
not enter into the feelings of suspicion and jealousy which 
Protestants entertain towards Kome. For myself, though 
I never, as I believe, spoke against individuals, I felt and 
expressed this deep suspicion about the system ; and it 
would be well indeed for Catholicism in this country, if 
every Protestant but studied it with a tenth part of the 
care which I have bestowed on the examination and ex- 
pression of Protestant arguments and views. Well, their 
private judgment went on acting, for a Protestant can 
have no guide but it ; and to their surprise, as time pro- 
ceeded, they found it bringing them nearer to the Catholic 
Church, and at length it fairly brought them into it. 


What did Protestants say then ? Why, they said that 
the same private judgment which had led them into the 
Catholic Church, would, in course of time, lead them out 
of it. They said, too, that these new Catholics, when 
they came to see what Catholics were like, would be un- 
able to stop among them. Mind, they put it to this test; 
this was their issue ; they left the decision of the ques- 
tion to the event ; they knew that the persons of whom 
they spoke were honest men ; they knew that they had 
given up a great deal to become Catholics ; they were 
sure that they would not take part in an imposition ; and 
therefore they said, " Let them go, they will soon come 
back ; let them go to Rome itself, they are sure to be dis- 
gusted ; they will meet at Rome, and in France, and in 
England, and every where, infidel priests by the bushel, 
and will tire of their new religion. And besides, they will 
soon begin to doubt about it themselves ; their private 
judgment will not submit to all they will have to believe, 
and they will go out of Catholicism as they came into it." 
You observe then, my Brothers, that our testimony is 
not a common one, it has a claim to be heard ; it has 
been appealed to by anticipation, let it then be heard 
after the event. There is no doubt that the whole Pro- 
testant world would have made a great deal of our drop- 
ping oif from the Catholic body ; why, then, ought it not 
to be struck by the fact of our continuing in it, being 
dutiful and loyal to it, and finding our rest in it ? You 
know perfectly well, it would have listened greedily, if we 
had left and borne witness against it ; why, then, ought 
it not in consistency to listen seriously, when we glory in 
it, and bear witness for it? Who in the whole world 
are likely to be more trustworthy witnesses of the fact, 
whether or not one in twelve of our town priests, dis- 


believes or doubts, than these converts, men of education, 
of intelHgence, of independent minds, who liave their eyes 
about them, who are scattered to and fro all through the 
country, who are, some of them, priests themselves ? Is 
there any one who knows us personally, who will dare to 
say we are not to be believed, not to be trusted ? no : 
only those who know us not. But so it is to be ; our 
evidence is to be put aside, and the Laputan method to 
carry the day. Catholics are to be surveyed from with- 
out, not inspected from within : texts and formulas are 
to prevail over broad and luminous facts. There is a 
story of a logician at some place of learning, who, as he 
was walking one evening past the public library, was 
hailed by an unfortunate person from one of its windows, 
who told him he had been locked in by mistake when it 
closed, and begged him to send to his relief the official 
who kept the keys. Our logician is said to have looked 
at him attentively, pronounced the following syllogism, 
and walked away : " No man can be in the library after 
4 ©""clock p.m. You are a man : Therefore, you are not 
in the library." And thus Catholic priests are left duly 
locked up by Barbara or Celarent, because forthwith one 
grain of Protestant logic is to weigh niore than cart- 
loads of Catholic testimony. 

No, if our opponents would decide the matter by tes- 
timony, if they would submit their assertions to the 
ordeal of facts, their cause is lost ; so they prefer much 
to go by prejudices, arbitrary principles, and texts. 
Evidence they can have to satiety for the asking ; but 
what boots it to pipe and sing to the deaf, or to convince 
the self-satisfied heart against its will ? One there was 
who left tlie Protestant religion under circumstances 
different from any to which I have hitherto alluded. 


He never joined in the religious movement which has 
brought so many to the Church ; nay, he wrote against 
it ; he wrote, not in bitterness and contempt, as many 
have done and do, but as a gentleman and a man o;* 
serious principle, he wrote against myself. But, though 
he started from so different a point, he, too, came near 
the Church, he, too, entered it. He did so at a great 
sacrifice ; he had devoted great part of his fortune to the 
building of a Protestant Church. It was all but finished, 
when the call came ; he rose and obeyed it, and had to 
leave his means of subsistence behind im, turned into 
stone. He came into the Catholic Church, and he re- 
mains a layman in it. See, then, here is a witness alto- 
gether different : ought not this to content our enemies? 
or are the boys in the market-place still to cry to them, 
" We have piped to you, and you have not danced ; we 
have lamented, and you have not mourned." Are they 
suspicious of those who belonged to a certain movement 
before they became Catholics? here is one who opposed 
it : are they suspicious of a convert priest I here is a 
convert layman. Now he happens some years after his 
conversion, to have written an account of his experience 
of the Catholic religion ; how many of our enemies have 
had the grace — I can use no lighter term — ^have had the 
grace to look into it? Yet what possible reason can 
they give for having neglected to study and to profit by 
it ? It is the grave testimony of one, in whom, as in that 
illustrious witness of old in a heathen country, " no cause 
nor suspicion" can be found, " unless concerning the law 
of his God." 

" I came," he says, and he shall conclude this Lec- 
ture for me, " forced by my convictions, and almost 
against my will, into this mighty conununity, whose 


embrace I had all my life dreaded as something para- 
lyzing, enslaving, and torturing. No sooner, however, 
could I look around me, and mark what presented 
itself to my eyes, than I saw that I was in a world, where 
all was as satisfying as it was new. For the first time I 
met with a body of men and women, who could talk and 
act as Christians, without cant, without restraint, with- 
out formality, without hypocrisy. After years and years 
of disappointment, in which the more deeply I saw into 
the hearts and lives of Protestants of every class, the 
more clearly I perceived that the religion they professed 
had not become their second nature, but was a thing put 
on, which did not fit them, which confined their move- 
ments, and gave them an outward look, while it was not 
wrought into the depth of their being, — after years and 
years of this disappointment, in which the contrast be- 
tween the Bible, which they praised, and the spirit of 
their own lives, and the doctrines they preached, struck 
me more bitterly each succeeding day, at length 1 found 
myself in the midst of a race, with whom Christianity 
was not a rule, but a principle ; not a restraint, but a 
second nature ; not a bondage, but a freedom ; in which 
it had precisely that effect which it claims to produce 
upon man ; in which, not a few hours, or an occasional 
day, was set apart for religion, but in which life was reli- 
gious : in which men spoke at all hours, and in all occu- 
pations, of religious things, naturally, as men speak of 
secular things in which they are deeply interested ; in 
which religious thoughts and short prayers were found not 
incompatible with the necessary duties and pleasures 
which fill up the road of existence ; and in which, the more 
deeply I was enabled to penetrate below the surface, the 
more genuine was the goodness which I found, and the 


more inexhaustible I perceived to be those treasures of 
grace, which Divine goodness places at the disposal (so 
to say) of every soul that seeks them within this favoured 

" And now, when so long a period has elapsed since 
my first submission to the Church, that every thing like 
a sense of novelty has long passed away, and I have 
tested experimentally the value of all that she has to 
offer ; now that I can employ her means of gi-ace, and 
take a part in the working of her system, with all that 
ease and readiness which long practice alone can bestow ; 
the more profound is my sense of her divine origin, of 
the divine power which resides in her, and of the bound- 
less variety and perfection of the blessings she has to 
bestow. The more I know her, the more complete do I 
perceive to be her correspondence to what she professes 
to be. She is exactly what the one Church of Christ is 
proclaimed to be in Scripture, and nothing less, and 

nothing more Truly can I say with the patriarch, 

' The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. This is 
no other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven,' 
The Catholic Church can be nothing less than the spi- 
ritual Body of Jesus Christ. Nothing less than that 
adorable Presence, before which the Angels veil their 
faces, can make her what she is, to those who are within 
her fold. Argument is needed no longer. The scoffings 
of the infidel, the objections of the Protestant, the sneers 
of the man of the world, pass over their heads, as clouds 
over a mountain peak, and leaves them calm and undis- 
turbed, with their feet resting upon the Rock of ages. 
They Jcnoio in whom they have believed. They have 
passed from speculation to action, and found that all is 
real, genuine, life-giving, and enduring I know only 


one fear — the fear that ray heart may be faithless to 
Him who has bestowed on me this unspeakable blessing ; 
I know only one mystery, which the more I think upon 
it, the more incomprehensible does it appear, — the mys- 
tery of that caUing which brought me into this house of 
rest, while millions and millions are still driven to and 
fro in the turbulent ocean of the world, without rudder 
and without compass, without helmsman and without 
anchor, to drift before the gale upon the fatal shore ' " 

' " Four Years' Experience of the Catholic Religion : Burns, London, 
1849,"pp. 92— 95. 

\_Lectiires on the Present Position of Catholicism in 
England, hy the Rev. J. H. Newman, D.D.] 



In this concluding Lecture, my Brothers of the Oratory, 
I shall attempt, in as few words as possible, to sum up 
what I have been showing in those which preceded it, 
and to set before you what I have proposed to myself in 
the investigation. 

You know, then, that at this time we are all in con- 
siderable anxiety, and some risk, as regards the future 
prospects of CathoUcism in England. Open threats in 
the most influential quarters are put forward, as if we 
might even lose the rights of British subjects, and be 
deprived of the free exercise of our religion. There has 
been an attempt to put our convents, in the eye of the 
law, on a level with mad houses ; and one of the An- 
glican Prelates in Parliament has constituted himself 
judge, whether the dimensions of our Churches were suffi- 
cient or too large for the " accommodation," to use the 
Protestant word, of our people. A bill too has been 
passed, about which all of us know enough, without my 
having the trouble to give it any designation. 

The duty of the Catholic Church is to preach to the 



world; and her promise and prerogative is success in 
preaching; but this is a subject which has not come into 
the scope of our discussions in this place. What I have 
been saying has no direct reference to any such end. I 
have not urged it on you, as I well might, as knowing you 
to be of their numbers who love their religion so well, that 
they wish others to enjoy the benefit of it with them. What 
I have said does not presuppose this ; it has not sprung out 
of any duty we have of extending the limits of the Catholic 
pale ; it would not have been superseded, if we had no 
such duty. I have not been aiming at the conversion of 
any persons, who are not Catholics, who have heard me ; 
I have not been defending Catholic, or attacking Pro- 
testant doctrines, except indirectly and incidentally. The 
condition or hypothesis, on which I have been entering 
into the discussion, has been the present Anti-Catholic 
agitation ; and my object has been that of self-defence. 
In the present state of things CathoHcs must, from the 
mere instinct of self-preservation, look about them ; they 
are assailed by a very formidable party, or power, as I 
should rather call it, in the country ; by its Protestant- 
ism. In the Protestantism of the country, I do not in- 
clude, of course, all who are not Catholics. By Pro- 
testants I mean the heirs of the traditions of Elizabeth ; 
I mean the country gentlemen, the Whig political party, 
the Church Establishment, and the Wesleyan Con- 
ference ; I cannot over-estimate their power ; they and 
their principles are established ; yet I should be unjust, 
on the other hand, to whole classes in the community, if 
I made Protestantism, thus explained, synonymous with 
the mind and the philosophy of the whole country. Well, 
I say we are menaced by this tremendous power ; this is 
the condition of things; what must we do? put our- 


selves on the defensive ; this then has been my scope. 
I have not been aggressive but on the defensive ; and 
what is the first step of those who are getting ready for 
their defence against a foe ? to reconnoitre him. It is 
simply this that I have been doing in these Lectures. 

This, I say, has been my object, a reconnoitring or 
survey of a strong and furious enemy, undertaken with a 
view to self-defence. And I report as follows : — 

I find he is in a very strong position, but that he takes 
a very incorrect view of us, and that this is his strength 
and our danger. Different from the case of actual war- 
fare, in which ignorance is weakness, here ignorance is 
power ; and in truth he does know as little about us as 
well can be conceived. He has got old pictures and old 
maps made years and years ago, which have come down 
to him from his fathers ; and, instead of deigning to 
look at us, and learn any thing about us, he adheres to 
them as if it were a point of faith to do so. This was 
the subject of my first Lecture ; I showed that the Eng- 
lish Protestant had a view of our monks, Jesuits, and 
Church quite his own ; unlike that of his more learned 
brethren abroad ; and moreover that he was apparently 
ignorant of the existence of any view besides it, or that 
it was possible for any sane jean to doubt it, or any 
honest man to deny it. 

Next came the cause of this phenomenon, and it was 
this : — Protestantism is established in the widest sense 
of the word ; its doctrine, religious, political, ecclesias- 
tical, moral, is placed in exclusive possession of all the 
high places of the land. It is forced upon all persons in 
station and office, or almost all, under sanction of an 
oath ; it is endowed with the amplest estates, and with 
revenues supplied by Government and by chartered and 

Ff 2 


other bodies. It has innumerable fine churches, planted 
up and down in every town, and village, and hamlet in 
the land. In consequence every one speaks Protestant- 
ism, even those who do not in their hearts love it ; it is 
the current coin of the realm. As English is the natural 
tonsrue, so Protestantism is the intellectual and moral 
language of the body politic. The Queen ex officio speaks 
Protestantism ; so does the court, so do her ministers. 
All but a small portion of the two Houses of Parliament ; 
and those, who do not, are forced to apologize for not 
speaking it, and to speak as much of it as they consci- 
entiously can. The Law speaks Protestantism, and the 
lawyers ; and the state Bishops and clergy of course. 
All the great authors of the nation, the multitudinous 
literature of the day, the public press, speak Protes- 
tantism. Protestantism the Universities ; Protestantism 
the schools, high, and low, and middle. Thus there is an 
incessant, unwearied circulation of Protestantism all over 
the whole country, for 365 days in the year from morning 
till night ; and this for nearly three centuries, has been 
almost one of the functions of national life. As the pulse, 
the lungs, the absorbents, the nerves, the pores of the 
animal body, are ever at their work, as that motion is its 
life, so in the political structure of the country there is 
an action of the life of Protestantism, constant and 
regular. It is a vocal life ; and in this consists its per- 
petuation, its reproduction. What it utters, it teaches, 
it propagates by uttering; it is ever impressing itself, 
diffusing itself all around ; it is ever transmitting itself 
to the rising generation ; it is ever keeping itself fresh, 
and young, and vigorous by the process of a restless 
agitation. This, then, is the elementary cause of the 
view which Englishmen are accustomed to take of Ca- 


tholicism and its professors. They survey us in the 
light of their Tradition ; and this was the subject of my 
second Lecture. 

Well, but you will ask, Have Catholics nothing to say 
for themselves ? yes, a great deal, but we have no oppor- 
tunity of saying it. The public will not recognize us ; 
it interrupts and puts us down. Men close their ears 
and throw up dust in the air, when we begin to speak ; 
they close their eyes, when we come forward, and begin 
pelting us at random. Far less will they come near us, 
and ask us questions, and listen to our answers. This 
was my subject in my foregoing or eighth Lecture ; in 
which I had not time to say nearly as much as I had 
intended. I could have shown you, how first, Protestants 
got rid of Catholicism from the kingdom as a worship ; 
how next, the Catholics who remained they put under 
crushing laws ; how every priest who said mass or ex- 
ercised any function on English ground was liable to 
perpetual imprisonment, and any foreign priest, who was 
subject to the crown of England, coming into England 
was guilty of high treason, and all who harboured him, 
of felony. I could have told you how that converting or 
being converted to Catholicism was high treason ; how no 
Catholic was allowed to inherit or purchase land ; no 
Catholic could hear mass without fine and imprisonment ; 
no Catholic might keep school under pain of imprison- 
ment for life ; nor, in default of schools at home, send a 
child abroad for education, without forfeiting all his 
estates, goods, and chattels, and incurring a civil out- 
lawry ; moreover, how, if a Catholic did not attend the 
established worship, he was not allowed to come within 
ten miles of London, nor could travel five miles from 
home, or bring any action at law ; and how he might not 


be married or buried, or have his children baptized, by 
any but ministers of the EstabUshed Church. I am not 
quoting these laws with a view to expose their wholesale 
cruelty and injustice, though I might well do so ; but in 
order to show you how impossible it was for Catholics to 
defend themselves, when they were denied even to speak. 
You see, the Protestant Tradition had it all its own way ; 
Elizabeth and her great men, and her preachers, killed 
and drove away all the Catholics they could ; knocked 
down the remainder, and then at their leisure proved un- 
answerably and triumphantly the absurdity of Popery, 
and the heavenly beauty and perfection of Protestantism. 
Never did we undergo so utter and complete a refutation ; 
we had not one word to utter in our defence. When 
she had thus beaten the breath out of us, and made us 
simply ridiculous, she put us on our feet again, thrust us 
into a chair, hoisted us up aloft, and carried us about as 
a sort of Guy Faux, to show to all the boys and riff-raff of 
the towns, what a Papist was like. Then, as if this were 
not enough, lest any one should come and ask us any 
thing about our religion, she and her preachers put it 
about that we had the plague, so that scarce a soul had 
the courage to look at us, or breathe the same air with 

This was a fair beginning for the Protestantizing of 
the people, and every thing else that was needed followed 
in due time as a matter of course. Protestantism being 
taught every where, Protestant principles were taught 
with it, which are necessarily the very reverse of Catholic 
principles. The consequence was plain ; viz. that even 
before the people heard a Catholic open his mouth, they 
were forearmed against what he would say, for they had 
been taught something as a precious truth, belief in 


which was ipso facto the disbelief and condemnation of 
some Catholic doctrine or other. When a person goes to 
a fever ward, he takes some essence with him to prevent 
his catching the disorder ; and of this kind are the Anti- 
Catholic principles in which Protestants are instructed 
from the cradle. For instance, they are taught to get 
by heart, without any sort of proof, as a kind of alphabet 
or speUing lesson, such propositions as these : — " mira- 
cles have ceased long ago ;" " all truth is in the Bible ;" 
"any one can understand the Bible ;*" " all penance is 
absurd ;" " a priesthood is pagan, not Christian," and a 
multitude of others. These are universally taught and 
accepted as equally true and equally important, as such 
principles as " it is wrong to murder or thieve," or " there 
is a judgment to come." When then a person sets out 
in life with these maxims as a sort of stock in trade in 
all religious speculations, and encounters Catholics, whose 
opinions hitherto he had known nothing at all about, you 
see he is quite proof against them, and unsusceptible of 
their doctrines, their worship, and their reasoning, by 
the preparation to which he has been subjected. He 
feels an instinctive repugnance to every thing Catholic, 
by reason of these arbitrary principles, which he has 
been taught to hold, and which he thinks identical with 
reason. " What ? you have priests in your religion ;" 
he says ; " but do you not know, are you so behind the 
world as not to know, that priests are pagan, not Chris- 
tian I " And sometimes he thinks that, directly he has 
uttered some such great maxim, the Catholic will turn 
Protestant at once, or, at least, ought to do so, and, 
if he does not, is either dull or hypocritical. And so 
again, " You hold saints are to be invoked, but the prac- 


tice is not in the Bible, and nothing is true that is not 
there." And again, " they say that in Ireland and else- 
where the priests impose heavy penances ; but this is 
against common sense, for all penances are absurd." 
Thus the Protestant takes the whole question for granted 
on starting; — and this was the subject of my seventh 

This fault of mind I call Assumption or Theory ; and 
another quite as great, and far more odious, is Prejudice ; 
and this came into discussion in the sixth Lecture. The 
perpetual talk against Catholicism, which goes on every 
where, in the higher classes, in literary circles, in the 
public press, and in the Protestant Church and its vari- 
ous dependencies, makes an impression or fixes a stain, 
which it is continually deepening, on the minds which are 
exposed to its influence ; and thus, quite independent of 
any distinct reasons and facts for thinking so, the mul- 
titude of men are quite certain that something very 
horrible is going on among Catholics. They become 
convinced, as they say, that we are all but fiends, so 
that there is no doubt at all, even before going into the 
matter, that all that is said against us is true, and all 
that is said for us is false. 

These, then, are the two special daughters, as they may 
be called, of the Protestant Tradition, Theory or As- 
sumption on the one hand, and Prejudice on the other ; 
Theory which scorns us, and Prejudice which hates us ; 
yet, though coming of one stock, they are very different 
in their constitution ; for Theory is of so ethereal a nature, 
that it needs nothing to feed upon ; it lives on its own 
thoughts, and in a world of its own, whereas Prejudice is 
ever craving for food, victuals are in constant request for 


its consumption every day ; and, accordingly, they are 
served up in unceasing succession, Titus Gates, Maria 
Monk, and Jeffreys, being the purveyors, and platform 
and pulpit speakers being the cooks. And this formed 
the subject of the third, fourth, and fifth Lectures. 

Such, then, is Popular Protestantism, considered in its 
opposition to Catholics. Its truth is establishment by 
law ; its philosophy is theory ; its faith is prejudice ; 
its facts are fictions ; its reasonings fallacies ; and its 
security is ignorance of those whom it is opposing. The 
Law says that white is black ; Ignorance says, why not ? 
Theory says it ought to be ; Fallacy says it must be, 
Fiction says it is, and Prejudice says it shall be. 

And now what are our duties at this moment towards 
this enemy of ours? How are we to bear ourselves 
towards it ? what are we to do with it 1 what is to come 
of the survey we have taken of it ? with what practical 
remark and seasonable advice am I to conclude this 
attempt to determine our relation to it ? The lesson we 
gain is obvious and simple, but as difficult, you will say, 
as it is simple ; for the means and the end are almost 
identical, and in executing the one, we have already 
reached the other. Protestantism is fierce, because it 
does not know you ; ignorance is its strength ; error is 
its life. Therefore bring yourselves before it, press your- 
selves upon it, force yourselves into notice against its 
will. Oblige men to know you ; persuade them, impor- 
tune them, shame them into knowing you. Make it so 
clear what you arc, that they cannot affect, not to see 
you, nor refuse to justify you. Do not even let them off 
with silence, but give them no escape from confessing 
that you are not what they have thought you were. 


They will look down, they will look aside, they will look 
in the air, they will shut their eyes, they will keep them 
shut. They will do all in their power not to see you ; 
the nearer you come, will they close their eyelids all the 
tighter; they will be very angry and frightened and give the 
alarm as if you were going to murder them. They will do 
any thing but look at you. They are, many of them, half 
conscious they have been wrong, but fear the consequences 
of learning it ; they will think it best to let things alone, 
and to persist in injustice for good and all, since they are 
for so long a time committed to it ; they will be too 
proud to confess themselves mistaken ; they prefer a safe 
cruelty to an inconvenient candour. I know it is a most 
grave problem how to touch so intense an obstinacy, but 
observe if you once touch it, you have done your work. 
There is but one step between you and success. It is a 
steep step, but it is one. It is a great thing to know 
your aim, to be saved from wasting your energies in 
wrong quarters, to be able to concentrate them on a 
point. You have but to aim at making men look steadily 
at you ; when they do this, I do not say they will become 
Catholics, but they will cease to have the means of 
making you a by- word and a reproach, of inflicting on 
you the cross of unpopularity. Wherever Catholicism is 
known it is respected, or at least endured, by the people. 
Politicians and philosophers, and the established clergy, 
would be against you, but not the people, if it knew 
you. A religion, which comes from God, approves itself 
to the conscience of the people, wherever it is really 

Your one, and almost sole object, then will be, to make 
yourselves known. This is what will do every thing for 
you ; it is what your enemies will try by might and main 


to hinder. They begin to have a suspicion that Catho- 
licism, known to be what it really is, will be their over- 
throw. They have hitherto cherished a most monstrous 
idea about you. They have thought, not only that you 
were the vilest and basest of men, but that you were fully 
conscious of it yourselves, and conscious, too, that they 
knew it. They have fancied that you, or at least your 
priests, indulged in the lowest sensuality, and practised 
the most impudent hypocrisy, and were parties to the most 
stupid and brutish of frauds ; and that they dared not 
look a Protestant in the face. Accordingly they have con- 
sidered, and have thought them quite aware themselves, 
that they were only in the country on sufferance ; that 
they were like reputed thieves and other bad characters, 
who, for one reason or another, are not molested in their 
dens of wickedness, and enjoy a contemptuous toleration, 
if they keep within bounds. And so, in like manner, they 
have thought, that there was evidence enough at any mo- 
ment, to convict us, if they were provoked to it. What 
would be their astonisliment, if the infamous persons, 
I have supposed, stood upon their rights, or obtruded 
themselves into the haunts of fashion and good breeding ? 
Fancy, then, how great has been their indignation, that 
we Catholics should pretend to be Britons ; should affect 
to be their equals ; should dare to preach, nay, to con- 
trovert ; should actually make converts, nay, worse and 
worse, not only to point out their mistakes, but, pro- 
digious insolence, absolutely to laugh at the absurdity of 
their assertions, and the imbecility of their arguments. 
They are at first unable to believe their ears, when they 
are made sensible that we, who know so well our own 
worthlessness, and know that they know it, who deserve 
at the very least the hulks or transportation, talk as 


loudly as we do, refuse to be still, and say that the more 
we are known, the more we shall be esteemed. We, 
who ought to go sneaking about, to crouch at their feet, 
and to keep our eyes on the ground, from the conscious- 
ness of their hold upon us, — is it madness, is it plot, 
what is it, which inspires us with such unutterable pre- 
sumption ? They have the might and the right on their 
side. They could confiscate our property, they could 
pack us all out of the kingdom, they could bombard 
Rome, they could fire St. Peter's, they could batter down 
the Coliseum, they could abolish the Papacy, if they 
pleased. Passion succeeds, and then a sort of fear, such 
as a brutal master might feel, who breaks into fury at 
the first signs of spirit in the apprentice he has long ill- 
treated, and then quails before him as he gets older. 
And then how white becomes their emotion, when men 
of their own rank, men of intelligence, men of good con- 
nexions, their relations or their friends, leave them to 
join the despised and dishonoured company ! And when, 
as time goes on, more and more such instances occur, 
and others are unsettled, and the old land-marks are 
removed, and all is in confusion, and new questions and 
parties appear in the distance, and a new world is coming 
in, — when what they in their ignorance thought to be 
nothing turns out to be something, they know not what, 
and the theodolite of Laputa has utterly failed, they 
quake with apprehension at so mysterious a visitation, 
and they are mad with themselves for having ever qua- 
lified their habitual contempt, with some haughty gene- 
rosity towards us. A proud jealousy, a wild hate, and a 
cold dismay, almost choke them with emotion. 

All this, because they have not taken the trouble to 
know us as we are in fact : however, you would think that 


they at last had gained an opening for information, when 
those, whom they have known, become the witnesses of 
what we are. Never so little ; the friends who have left 
them, are an embarrassment to them, not an illumination; 
an embarrassment, because they do but interfere with 
their received rule and practice of dealing with us. It is 
an easy thing to slander those who come of the old 
Catholic stock, because such persons are unknown to the 
world. They have lived all their days in tranquil fidelity 
to the creed of their forefathers, in their secluded estate, 
or their obscure mission, or their happy convent ; they 
have no relations with the affairs or the interests of the 
day, and have never come to the public throng of men to 
gain a character. They are known, in their simplicity 
and innocence and purity of heart, and their conscien- 
tiousness of life, to their God, to their neighbour, and to 
themselves, not to the world at large. If any one would 
defame them, he may do it with impunity ; their name is 
not known till it is slandered, and they have no ante- 
cedents, to serve as matter for an appeal. Here, then, is 
the fit work for those prudent slanderers, who would 
secure themselves fi'om exposure, while they deal a blow 
in defence of the old Protestant Tradition. AVere a 
recent convert, whose name is before the world, accused 
of some definite act of tyranny or baseness, he knows 
how to ^vrite and act in his defence, and he has a known 
reputation to protect him ; therefore, ye Protestant 
champions, if there be an urgent call at the moment for 
some instance of Catholic duplicity or meanness, be sure 
to shoot your game sitting ; keep yourselves under cover, 
choose some one, who can be struck without striking, 
whom it is easy to overbear, with whom it is safe to play 
the bully. Let it be a prelate of advanced age and of 


retired habits, or some gentle nun, whose profession and 
habits are pledges that she cannot retaliate. Triumph 
over the old man and the woman. Open your wide 
mouth, and collect your rumbling epithets, and round 
your pretentious sentences, and discharge your concen- 
trated malignity, on the defenceless. Let it come down 
heavily on them, to their confusion ; and a host of 
writers, in print and by the post, will follow up the out- 
rage you have commenced. But beware of the converts, 
for they are known ; and to them you will not be safe in 
imputing more than the ordinary infirmities of humanity. 
With them you must deal in the contrary way. Men of 
rank, men of station, men of ability, in short, men of 
name, what are we to do with them ? Cover them up, 
bury them ; never mention them in print, unless a chance 
hint can be dropped to their disadvantage. Shake your 
heads, whisper about in society, and detail in private 
letters, the great change which has come over them. 
They are not the same persons ; they have lost their fine 
sense of honour ; and so suddenly, too ; they are under the 
dominion of new and bad masters. Drop their acquaint- 
ance ; meet them and pass them by, and tell your friends 
you were so pained you could not speak to them : be sure 
you do nothing whatever to learn from them any thing 
about the Catholic faith ; know nothing at all about their 
movements, their objects, or their life. Read none of 
their books ; let no one read them who is under your in- 
fluence : however, you may usefully insert in your news- 
papers, half sentences from their writings, or any passing 
report, which can be improved to their disadvantage. 
Not a word more ; let not even their works be adver- 
tised. Ignore those who never can be ignored, never 
can be forgotten ; and all for this, — that by the violation 


of every natural feeling, and every sacred tie, you may 
keep up that profound ignorance of the Catholic reli- 
gion which the ascendancy of Protestantism requires. 

These are but snatches and glimpses, my Brothers of 
the Oratory, of the actual state of the case ; of the 
intense determination of Protestants to have nothinjj to 
do with us, and nothing true to say of us, and of the 
extreme arduousness of that task to which I think we 
should all direct our exertions. The post must be car- 
ried ; in it lies the fortune of the day. Our opponents 
are secretly conscious of it too ; else why should they so 
strenuously contest it ? They must be made to know us 
as we are ; they must be made to know our rehgion as it 
is, not as they fancy it ; they must be made to look at 
us, and they are overcome. This is the work which lies 
before you in your place and in your measure, and I would 
advise you about it thus : — 

Bear in mind, then, that, as far as defamation and 
railing go, your enemies have done their worst. There 
is nothing which they have not said, which they do not 
daily say, against your religion, your priests, and your- 
selves. They have exhausted all their weapons, and you 
have nothing to fear, for you have nothing to lose. They 
call your priests distinctly liars ; they can but cry the old 
fables over and over again, though they are sadly worse 
for wear. They have put you beyond the pale of civilized 
society ; they have made you the outlaws of public 
opinion ; they serve you, in the way of reproach and 
slander, worse than the convict or the savage. You 
cannot in any way move them, by smiles, or by tears, or 
by remonstrance. You can show them no attention ; 
you can give them no scandal. Court them, they are not 
milder ; be rude to them, they cannot be more violent. 


You cannot make them think better of you, or worse. 
They hold no terms with you ; you have not even the 
temptation to concede to them. You have not the tempta- 
tion to give and take ; you have not the temptation to dis- 
guise or to palter. You have the strength of desperation, 
and desperation does great things. Theyhave made you 
turn to bay. Whatever occurs, if there be a change at 
all, it must be a change for the better : you cannot be 
disadvantaged by the most atrocious charges, for you are 
sure to be the marks for them, whatever you do. You 
are set loose from the fear of man ; it is of no use to say 
to yourselves, " What will people say V No, the Su- 
preme Being must be your only Fear, as He is your only 

Next, look at the matter more closely ; it is not so bad 
as it seems. Who are these who so obstinately refuse 
to know you? When I say, " They have done their 
worst," what is their " worst," and who are " they?" 
This is an all-important question ; perhaps I shall have 
some difficulty in bringing out what I mean, but, when 
you once get into my idea, there will be no degrees in your 
understanding it. Consider, then, that " they" means, 
in the main, certain centres of influence in the metropolis : 
first, a great proportion of members of both Houses of 
Parliament ; next, the press ; thirdly, the Societies, 
whose haunt or home is Exeter Hall ; fourthly, the pul- 
pits of the establishment, and of a good part of the Dissen- 
ters. These are our accusers ; these spread abroad their 
calumnies ; these are meant by " they." Next, what is 
their "worst?" whom do they influence? They influ- 
ence the population of the whole of Great Britain, and 
the British Empire, so far as it is British, and not 
Catholic; and they influence it to believe that Catho- 


licism, and all Catholics, are professed and habitual 
violators of the liioral law, of the precepts of truth, 
honesty, purity, and humanity. If this be so, you may 
ask me what I can mean by saying that the " worst" is 
not so bad as it looks 1 but after all, things might be 
much worse. 

Think a moment : what is it to me what people think 
of me a hundred miles off, compared with what they 
think of me at home ? It is nothing to me what the four 
ends of the world think of me ; I care nought for the 
British Empire more than for the Celestial, in this matter, 
provided I can be sure what Birmingham thinks of me. 
The question, I say, is, what does Birmingham think of 
me ? and if I have a satisfactory answer to that, I can 
bear to be without a satisfactory answer about any other 
town or district in England. This is a great principle to 
keep in view. 

And now I am coming to a second. I grant the 
whole power of the Metropolis is against us, and I grant 
it is quite out of the question to attempt to gain it over 
on our side. It is true, there are various individual 
members of Parliament who are our co-religionists or 
our friends, but they are few among many ; there are 
newspapers which act generously towards us, but they form 
a small minority ; there are a few Protestant clergy, who 
would be not quite carried away by the stream if left to 
themselves. Granted: but still, I am forced to allow 
that the great metropolitan intellect cannot be reached 
by us, and for this simple reason, because you cannot 
confront it, you cannot make it know you. I said your 
victory was to lie in forcing upon others a personal know- 
ledge of you, in your standing before your enemies face 
to face. But what face has a metropolitan journal I how 



are you to get at it ? how are you to look into it ? whom 
are you to look at ? who is to look at you 1 No one is 
known in London ; it is the realm of the incognito and 
the anonymous ; it is not a place, it is a region or a 
state. There is no such thing as local opinion in the 
metropohs ; mutual personal knowledge, there is none ; 
neighbourhood, good fame, bad repute, there is none ; no 
house knows the next door. You cannot make an im- 
pression on such an ocean of units ; it has no disposition, 
no connexion of parts. The great instrument of propa- 
gating moral truth is personal knowledge. A man finds 
himself in a definite place ; he grows up in it and into it; 
he draws persons around him ; they know him, he knows 
them ; thus it is that ideas arise which are to live, that 
works begin which are to last*. It is this personal 
knowledge of each other which is true public opinion ; 
local opinion is real public opinion ; but there is not, 
there cannot be such in London. How is a man to show 
what he is, when he is but a grain of sand out of a mass, 
without relations to others, without a place, without his- 
tory, without distinctiveness? Crowds pour along the 
streets, and, though each has his own character written 
on high, they are one and all the same to men below. 
And this impersonality, as it may be called, pervades the 
whole metropolitan system. A man, not known, writes 
a leading article against what ? — things ? no ; but ideas. 
He writes against Catholicism : what is Catholicism ? 
can you touch it ? point at it ? no ; it is an idea before 
his mind. He clothes it with certain attributes, and 
forthwith it goes all over the country, that a certain idea 
or vision, called Catholicism, has certain other ideas, bad 

• Vide the University Sermons of the Author, No. IV. 


ones, connected with it. You see it is all a matter of 
ideas, and abstractions, and conceptions. Well, this lead- 
ing article goes on to speak of certain individual Catholic 
priests ; still, does it see them ? point at them 1 no, it 
does but give their names ; it is a matter not of persons, 
but of names ; and those names, sure enough, go over 
the whole country and empire, as the names of rogues, 
or as liars, or as tyrants, as the case may be ; while they 
themselves, in their own persons, are not at all the worse 
for it, but eat, sleep, pray, and do their work, as freely 
and as easily as before. London cannot touch them, for 
words hurt no one ; they cannot hurt us till — till when ? 
till they are taken up, believed, in the very place where we 
individually dwell. Ah ! this is a very different kind of 
public opinion ; it is local opinion ; I spoke of it just 
now, and it concerns us very nearly. 

I say, it is quite another thing, when the statements 
which a metropolitan paper says, and the Empire believes, 
are actually taken up in the place where I live. It is a 
very different thing, and a very serious matter ; but, ob- 
serve the great principle we have arrived at ; it is this : — 
that popular opinion only acts through local opinion. 
The opinion of London can only act on an individual 
through the opinion of his own place ; metropolitan opi- 
nion can only act on me through Birmingham opinion. 
London abuses Catholics. " Catholic" is a word : where 
is the thing ? in Liverpool, in Manchester, in Birming- 
ham, in Leeds, in Sheffield, in Nottingham. Did all the 
London papers prove that all Catholics were traitors, 
where must this opinion be carried out ? Not in the air, 
not in leading articles, not in editors'" studies ; but in 
Liverpool, in Manchester, in Birmingham, in Leeds, in 
Sheffield, in Nottingham. So, in order to carry out your 



London manifesto, you must get the people of Birming- 
ham, Manchester, and the rest, to write their names 
after it ; else, nothing comes of its being a metropoHtan 
opinion, or an imperial opinion, or any other great idea 
whatever. You must get Birmingham to believe it of 
Birmingham Catholics, and Manchester to believe it of 
Manchester CathoHcs : so, you see, these great London 
leading articles have only done half their work, or rather, 
have not begun it, by proving to the world that all 
Catholics are traitors, till they come out of their abstrac- 
tions and generalities, and for the " world," substitute 
Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool ; and for " all 
Catholics," substitute Catholics of Birmingham, Man- 
chester, and Liverpool ; and get each place in particular 
to accept what the great metropolis says, and the Empire 
believes, in the general. 

And now comes another important consideration : it 
is not at all easy to get a particular place, at the word 
of London, to accept about its own neighbourhood in 
particular what London says of all places in the general. 
Did London profess to tell us about the price of iron 
generally, if it gained its information from Birmingham 
and other iron markets in particular, well and good ; but 
if it came forward with great general views of its own, I 
suspect that Birmingham would think it had a prior 
voice in the question, and would not give up its views at 
the bidding of the metropolitan journal. And the case 
is the same as regards Catholicism : London may declaim 
about Catholics in general, but Birmingham will put in 
a claim to judge of them in particular ; and when Bir- 
mingham becomes the judge, London falls into the mere 
office of accuser, and the accused may be heard in his 
defence. Thus a Catholic of Birmingham can act on 


Birmingham, though he cannot act on London, and this 
is the important practical point to which I have been 
coming all along. I wish you to turn your eyes on that 
local opinion, which is so much more healthy, English, 
and Christian than popular or metropolitan opinion ; for 
it is an opinion, not of ideas, but of things ; not of words, 
but of facts ; not of names, but of persons ; it is per- 
spicuous, real, and sure. It is little to me, as far as my 
personal well-being is concerned, what is thought of 
Catholicism through the empire, or what is thought of 
me by the metropolis, if I know what is thought of me 
in Birmingham. London cannot act on me except 
through Birmingham, and Birmingham indeed can act 
on me, but I can act on Birmingham. Birmingham can 
look on me, and I can look on Birmingham. This is a 
place of persons, and a place of facts ; there is far more 
fairness in a place like this than in a metropolis, or at 
least fairness is uppermost. Newspapers are, from the 
nature of the case, and almost in spite of themselves, 
conducted here on a system more open and fairer than 
the metropolitan system. A Member of Parliament in 
London might say that I had two heads, and refuse to 
retract it, though I denied it upon my word ; it would not 
be believed in Birmingham. All the world might believe 
it ; it might be the theme of county meetings ; the 
Prime Minister might introduce it into the Queen's 
speech ; it might be the subject of most eloquent de- 
bates, and most exciting divisions ; it might be formally 
communicated to all the European courts; the stocks 
might fall, a stream of visitors set in from Russia, 
Egypt, and the United States, at the news ; it would 
not be believed in Birn\ingham ; local opinion would 
carry it hollow against popular opinion. 


You see, then, Brothers of the Oratory, where your 
success lies, and how you are to secure it. Never mind 
the London press ; never mind Exeter Hall ; never mind 
perambulating orators or solemn meetings ; let them 
alone, they do not affect local opinion. They are a blaze 
amid the stubble ; they glare and they expire. Do not 
dream of converting the public opinion of London ; you 
cannot, and you need not. Look at home, there lies 
your work ; what you have to do, and what you can do, 
are one and the same. Prove to the people of Birming- 
ham, as you can prove to them, that your priests and 
yourselves are not without conscience, or honour, or 
morality ; prove it to them, and it matters not though 
every man, woman, and child, within the London bills of 
mortality, were of a different opinion. That metro- 
politan opinion would be powerless, when it attempted to 
bear upon Birmingham ; it would not work ; there would 
be a hitch and a block ; you would be a match where you 
were seen, for a whole world where you were not. I do 
not undervalue the influence of London ; many things its 
press can do ; some things it cannot do ; it is imprudent 
when it impinges on facts. If, then, a battle is coming 
on, stand on your own ground, not on that of others ; 
take care of yourselves ; be found where you are known ; 
make yourselves and your religion known more and more, 
for in that knowledge is your victory. Truth will out ; 
truth is mighty and will prevail. We have an instance 
of it before our eyes ; why is it that a few persons here 
have the hardihood to be maintaining Maria Monk's 
calumnies ? because those calumnies bear upon a place 
over the ocean ; why did they give up Jeffreys? because 
he spoke of a place close at hand. You cannot go to 
Montreal ; you can go to Whitwick ; therefore, as 


regards Whitwick, the father of lies eats his words and 
gives up Jeffreys, to get some credit for candour, when 
he can get nothing else. Who can doubt, that, if that 
same personage went over to Canada, he would give up 
Maria Monk as false, and take up Jeffreys as true ? 
Yes, depend on it, when he next ships off to New York, 
he will take the veritable account of the persecuted 
Jeffreys in his pocket with an interesting engraving of 
his face as a frontispiece. So certain, so necessary is all 
this, my Brothers, that I do not mind giving you this 
advice in public. An enemy might say in his heart, 
"Here is a priest fool enough to show his game !" I 
have no game ; I have nothing to conceal ; I do not 
mind who knows what I mark out for you, for nothing 
can frustrate it. I have an intense feeling in me about 
the power and victoriousness of truth. It has a blessing 
from God on it. Satan himself can but retard its ascen- 
dancy, he cannot prevent it. 

This, I would say, Brothers of the Oratory, not only 
to you, but, if I had a right to do so, to the Catholics of 
England generally. Let each stand on his own ground ; 
let each approve himself in his own neighbourhood ; if 
each portion is defended, the whole is secured. Take 
care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of them- 
selves. Let the London press alone ; do not appeal to 
it ; do not expostulate with it ; do not flatter it ; care 
not for popular opinion, cultivate local. And then if 
troubled times come on, and the enemy rages, and his 
many voices go forth from one centre all through Eng- 
land, threatening and reviling us, and muttering, in his 
cowardly way, about brickbats, bludgeons, and lighted 
brands, why in that case the Birmingham people will say, 
" Catholics are, doubtless, an infamous set, and not to be 


trusted, for the ' Times' says so, and Exeter Hall, and 
the Prime Minister, and the Bishops of the Establish- 
ment ; and such good authorities cannot be wrong, but 
somehow an exception must certainly be made for the 
Catholics of Birmingham. They are not like the rest ; 
there are indeed a shocking set at Manchester, Preston, 
Blackburn, and Liverpool ; but, however you account for 
it, they are respectable men here. Priests in general 
are perfect monsters, but here they are certainly un- 
blemished in their lives and take great pains with their 
people. Bishops are tyrants, and, as Maria Monk says, 
cut-throats, always excepting the Bishop of Birmingham, 
who affects no state or pomp, is simple and imassuming, 
and always in his work." And in like manner, the Man- 
chester people will say, " 0, certainly, Popery is horrible, 
and must be kept down. Still, let us give the devil his 
due, they are a remarkably excellent body of men here, 
and we will take care no one does them any harm. It is 
very different at Birmingham ; there they have a Bishop, 
and that makes all the difference ; he is a Wolsey all 
over ; and the priests, too, in Birmingham are at least 
one in twelve infidels. We do not recollect who ascer- 
tained this, but it was some most respectable man, who 
was far too conscientious and too charitable to slander 
any one." And thus, my Brothers, the charges against 
Catholics will become a sort of hunt the slipper, every 
where and no where, and end in " sound and fury, signi- 
fying nothing." 

Such is that defensive system, which I think is espe- 
cially the duty of Catholics at this moment. You are 
attacked on many sides ; do not look about for friends on 
the right hand or on the left. Trust neither Assyria nor 
Egypt ; trust no body of men. Fall back on yourselves, 


and trust none but yourselves. I do not mean you must 
not be grateful to individuals who are generous to you, 
but beware of parties ; all parties are your enemies ; 
beware of alliances. You are your own best, and sure, 
and sufficient friends ; no one can really hurt you but 
yourselves, no one can succour you but yourselves. Be 
true to yourselves, and success is in your hands. Be 
content to have your conscience clear, and your God on 
your side. 

Your strength lies in your God and your conscience ; 
therefore it lies not in your number. It lies not in your 
number, more than in intrigue, or combination, or worldly 
wisdom. God saves whether by many or by few ; you 
are to aim at showing forth His light, at diffusing " the 
sweet odour of His knowledge in every place :" numbers 
would not secure this. On the contrary, the more you 
grew, the more you might be thrown back into yourselves, 
by the increased animosity and jealousy of your enemies. 
You are enabled in some measure to mix with them 
while you are few ; you might be thrown back upon 
yourselves, when you became many. The line of demar- 
cation might be more strictly observed ; there might be 
less intercourse and less knowledge. It would be a 
terrible state of things, to be growing in material power, 
and growing too in a compulsory exclusiveness. Grow 
you must ; I know it ; you cannot help it ; it is your 
destiny ; it is the necessity of the Catholic Name, it is 
the prerogative of the Apostolical heritage ; but a mate- 
rial extension without a corresponding moral manifesta- 
tion, it is almost awful to anticipate ; awful, if there 
should be the sun of justice within you, with so little 
power to cast the illumination of its rays upon the mul- 
titudes without. On the other hand, even if you did not 


grow, you might dispense on all sides of you the royal 
light of Truth, and exert an august moral influence upon 
t-he world. This is what I want ; I do not want growth, 
except of course for the sake of the souls of those who 
are the increment ; but I want you to rouse yourselves 
to what you are, to know yourselves. I would aim pri- 
marily at organization, edification, cultivation of mind, 
growth of the reason. It is a moral force, not a material, 
which will vindicate your profession, and will secure your 
triumph. It is not giants who do most. How small 
was the Holy Land ! yet it subdued the world. How 
poor a spot was Attica ! yet it has formed the intellect. 
Moses was one, Elias was one, David was one, Paul 
was one, Athanasius was one, Leo was one. Grace ever 
works by few ; it is the keen vision, the intense convic- 
tion, the indomitable resolve of the few, it is the blood 
of the martyr, it is the prayer of the saint, it is the 
heroic deed, it is the momentary crisis, it is the concen- 
trated energy of a word or a look, which is the instru- 
ment of heaven. Fear not, little flock, for He is mighty 
who is in the midst of you, and will do for you great 

As troubles and trials circle round you, He will give 
you what you want at present, — " a mouth and wisdom, 
which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and 
gainsay." " There is a time for silence, and a time to 
speak ;" the time for speaking is come. What I desi- 
derate in Catholics is, the gift of bringing out what they 
are, what their religion is ; it is one of those " better 
gifts," of which the Apostle bids you be " zealous." 
You must not hide your talent in a napkin, or your light 
under a bushel. I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash 
in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their 


religion, who enter into it, who know just where they 
stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, 
who know their creed so well, that they can give an ac- 
count of it, and who know enough of history to defend it. 
I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity ; I am not de- 
nying you are such ; but I mean to be severe, and, as some 
would say, exorbitant in my demands. I wish you to en- 
large your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an 
insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view 
things as they are, to understand how faith and reason 
stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of 
Catholicism, and where lie the main inconsistencies and 
absurdities of the Protestant theory. I have no appre- 
hension you will be worse Catholics for familiarity with 
these subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God 
above, and that you have a soul to be judged and to be 
saved. In all times the laity have been the measure of 
Catholicism ; they saved the Irish Church three centuries 
ago, and they betrayed it in England. Our rulers here 
were true, our people were cowards. You ought to be 
able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as 
well as feel and mean it ; to expose to the comprehension 
of others the fictions and fallacies of your opponents; 
and to explain the charges brought against us, to the 
satisfaction, not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, 
of whatever cast of opinion. And one immediate effect 
of your being able to do all this, will be your gaining that 
proper confidence in self which is so necessary for you. 
You will then not even have the temptation to rely on 
others, to court political parties or particular men ; 
they will rather have to court you. You will no longer 
be disspirited or irritated, (if such is at present the case,) 
at finding difliculties in your way, in being called names. 


in not being believed, in being treated with injustice. 
You will fall back upon yourselves ; you will be calm, 
you will be patient. Ignorance is the root of all little- 
ness : he who can realize the laws of moral conflicts, and 
the incoherence of falsehood, and the issue of perplexities, 
and the end of all things, and the Presence of the Judge, 
becomes, from the very necessity of the case, philoso- 
phical, long-suffering, and magnanimous. 

Cultivation of mind, I know well, is not the same thing 
as religious principle, but it contributes much to remove 
from our path the temptation to many lesser forms of 
moral obliquity. Human nature, left to itself, is sus- 
ceptible of innumerable feelings, more or less unbecoming, 
indecorous, petty, and miserable. It is, in no long time, 
clad and covered by a host of little vices and disgraceful 
infirmities, — jealousies, slynesses, cowardices, frettings, 
resentments, obstinacies, crookedness in viewing things, 
vulgar conceit, impertinence, and selfishness. Mental 
cultivation, though it does not of itself touch the greater 
wounds of human nature, does a good deal for these lesser 
defects. In proportion as our intellectual horizon re- 
cedes, and we mount up in the knowledge of men and 
things, so do we make progress in those qualities and 
that character of mind, which we denote by the word 
" gentleman ;" and, if this appHes in its measure to the 
case of all men, whatever their religious principles, much 
more is it true of a Catholic. Your opponents, my 
Brothers, are too often emphatically not gentlemen : but it 
will be for you, in spite of whatever provocations you may 
meet with, to be manly and noble in your bearing towards 
them ; to be straightforward in your dealings with them ; 
to show candour, generosity, honourable feeling, good 
sense, and forbearance, in spite of provocation ; to refrain 


from taking unfair or small advantages over them ; to 
meet them half way, if they show relentings ; not to fret 
at insults, to bear imputations, and to interpret the ac- 
tions of all in the best sense you possibly can. It is not 
only more religious, not only more becoming, not only 
happier, to have these excellent dispositions of mind, but 
it is far the most likely way, in the long run, of per- 
suasion and success. You see I am speaking to you 
almost in a worldly way ; I do not speak to you of Chris- 
tian charity, lest I should adopt a tone too high for the 

Men, when they see this, may attempt other weapons ; 
and the more serious you are, will make the greater 
efforts to pour contempt and ridicule upon you. But 
ridicule will not hurt you, as it hurts other religious 
bodies ; they hate and fear Catholicism — they cannot 
really laugh at it. They may laugh at individuals or at 
details connected with it, but not at Catholicism itself. 
Indeed, I am disposed, in one sense, to allow the maxim 
of the unbeliever, which has before now given rise to so 
much discussion, viz., that ridicule is the test of truth. 
Methodism is ridiculous, so is Puritanism : it is not so 
with the Catholic Religion ; it may be, and is, maligned 
and defamed ; ridiculed it cannot be. It is too real, too 
earnest, too vigorous, to have ought to fear from the 
most brilliant efforts of the satirist or the wit. 

You will not be able to silence your opponents ; do 
not be surprised at it ; that will not show that they do not 
secretly respect you. Men move in parties ; what shows 
on the surface is no index of what is felt within. When 
they have made assertions, they cannot withdraw them, 
the shame is so great ; so they go on blustering, and 
wishing themselves out of the awkward position in which 


they stand. Truth is great : a blow is struck within 
them ; they are unnerved with the secret consciousness 
of failure ; they are angry with themselves ; and, though 
they do not like you at all the better for it, they will be 
more cautious another time. They speak less confidently 
henceforth ; or, even if they harden themselves, and are 
as bold as before, others do not go with them ; public 
opinion does not respond to them ; and a calumny, 
which at first was formidable, falls on closed hearts and un- 
willing ears, and takes no root in the community at large. 
This is what I think probable ; I will not anticipate it 
can be otherwise ; but still supposing there is that pre- 
judice existing, which, like a deep soil, will receive any 
amount of false witness, of scurrility, of buffoonery, of 
sophistry, when directed against the Catholic Religion, 
and that the contempt and hatred, at present felt against 
its adherents, is kindled, by their increasing strength and 
intelligence, into a fiercer, prouder, feeling, — what then ? 
noli cemulari, be not jealous, fret not. You are not as 
others ; you have that in you which others have not. 
You have in you an unearthly gift ; the gift, not only of 
contending boldly, but of suffei'ing well. It will not hap- 
pen, it must not be expected ; and yet I confess I have 
not that confidence on the subject, which I had a year 
since, when I said that Catholics never could be peree- 
cuted again in England. It will not be so : yet late 
events have shown, that, though I never have under- 
rated the intense prejudice which prevails against us, I 
did over- rate that Anglo-Saxon love of justice and 
fair dealing which I thought would be its match. Alas ! 
that I should have to say so, but it is no matter to the 
Catholic, though much matter to the Englishman. It is 
no matter to us, because, as I have said, " Greater is He 


that is in you than he that is in the world."" I do not, 
cannot think, a time of serious trial is at hand : I would 
not willingly use big words, or provoke what is so dread- 
ful, or seem to accomplish it by suggesting it. And for 
myself, I confess I have no love of suffering at all ; I am 
not of a time of life which commonly loves to risk it. To 
be quiet and to be undisturbed, to be at peace with all, 
to live in the sight of my brethren, to meditate on the 
future, and to die, — such is the prospect which is rather 
suitable to such as me. Yet, my Brothers, I have no 
doubt at all, either about myself or about Catholics 
generally, if trial came. I doubt not we should suffer 
any trial well, not from nature, but from grace ; not from 
what we are in ourselves, but from the wonder-working 
power which is among us, and which fills us as vessels, 
according to our various dimensions. 

Every age is not the age of Saints, but no age is 
not the age of martyrs. Look into the history of the 
Church ; you find many instances of men trained up by 
laborious courses of disciphne through a long life, or a 
period of many years. Slowly, silently, perseveringly, 
often opposed by their own people, for a while looked on 
with suspicion even by good Catholics, lest they should 
be extravagant, or intemperate, or self-willed, (for time 
is necessary, as the proof of things,) setting about heroic 
works, acting, suffering with superhuman faith, with 
superhuman patience, with superhuman love, and then at 
length dying, not by violence, but in peace, — these are 
what I have called by pre-eminence Saints, being the 
groat specimens of their kind, as contrasted with Martyrs. 
They are the produce, generally speaking, of the pros- 
perous times of the Church, I mean, when the Church is 
in the favour of the world, and is in possession of riches, 


learning, pow6r, and name. The first in history of these 
great creations of God, is that glorious name, St. Atha- 
nasius : then they follow so thick, I cannot enumerate 
them ; St. Chrysostom, almost a martyr too, St. Basil, 
St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Augustin, St. Ambrose, 
St. Jerome ; in very distinct spheres of religious duty, 
but all heroes. Such, too, was St. Benedict, such St. 
Leo, such St. Gregory the First, St. Romuald, St. 
Gregory the Seventh, St. Bernard, St. Francis, St. 
Thomas of Aquinum, St. Ignatius, St. Vincent of Paul. 
As far as human eyes can see, we have none such on earth 
at present ; nor again, is our age like theirs. Ours is not 
an age of temporal glory, of dutiful princes, of loyal 
governments, of large possessions, of ample leisure, of 
famous schools, of learned foundations, of well-stored 
libraries, of honoured sanctuaries. Rather, it is like the 
first age of the Church, when there was little of station, 
of nobility, of learning, of wealth, in the holy heritage ; 
when we were chiefly of the lower orders, when we were 
poor and ignorant, when we were despised and hated by 
the great and philosophical, as a low rabble, or a stupid 
and obstinate association, or a foul and unprincipled con- 
spiracy. It is like that first age, in which no Saint is 
i-ecorded in history who fills the mind as a great idea, as 
St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Ignatius, and when the ablest 
so-called Christian writers, belonged to heretical schools. 
We certainly have little to show for ourselves ; and the 
words of the Psalm are fulfilled in us, — " They have set 
fire to Thy sanctuary ; they have defiled the dwelling- 
place of Thy Name on the earth. Our signs we have not 
seen ; there is now no Prophet, and He will know us no 
more. How long shall the enemy reproach ? is the ad- 
versary to provoke Thy Name for ever V So was it in 


the first age too ; they were scorned and hated as we 
are ; they were without the effulgence and the celebrity 
of later times. Yet had they nothing at all to show ? 
were they without their glory ? it was emphatically the 
age of martyrs. The most horrible tortures which ima- 
gination can fancy, the most appalling kinds of death, 
weie the lot, the accepted portion, the boast and joy, of 
those abject multitudes. Not a few merely, but by 
thousands, and of every condition of life, men, women, 
boys, girls, children, slaves, domestics, they willingly 
offered their life's blood, their limbs, their senses, their 
nerves, to the persecutor, rather than soil their faith and 
their profession, with the slightest act which implied the 
denial of their Lord. 

Such was the fruit of the IVIother of Saints in her 
valley of humiliation, when she seemed to have hardly 
any great thought, or spirit, or intellect, or cultivation of 
mind. And who were these her children who made this 
sacrifice of blood so freely 1 what had been their previous 
lives ? how had they been trained I were they special men 
of fasting, of prayer, and of self-control I No, I repeat 
it, no ; they were for the most part common men ; it was 
not they, who did the deed, it was not what was matured 
in them, it was that unfathomable ocean of faith and 
sanctity, which flowed into, and through, and out of 
them into those tremendous manifestations of divine 
power. It was the narrow-minded slave, the untaught 
boy, the gentle maid, as well as the Bishop or the 
Evangelist, who took on them their cross, and smiled as 
they entered on their bloody way. It was the soldier of 
the ranks, it was the jailor or hangman suddenly con- 
verted, it was the spectator of a previous martyrdom, 
nay, it was even the unbaptized heathen, who with a joy- 



ful song rose up and washed their robes, and made them 
white in the blood of the Lamb. Nay, strange to say, 
in the case of those of them who had been Christians 
before the persecution, good and reh'gious as they were, 
yet still we read of disorder, and extravagance, and other 
lesser offences, even while in prison and in expectation of 
their doom, clearly showing that all of them had not that 
subdued and disciplined spirit, which has distinguished 
those great lights of after times of whom I was just now 
speaking. Or take particular instances of Martyrdom, 
or what resembles it, from the first age to the present 
time ; — what was St. Justin ? a philosopher, with great 
secular accomplishments, but assuredly not better 
grounded in Christian truth than the bulk of our own 
laity. What was our own St. Alban, again, but a 
Roman officer, who did a generous action, sheltered a 
priest, was converted by him, made confession and went 
out to die ? And then, again, St. Hermenegild, several 
centuries later; a brave youth, who by his glorious 
death, not only gained the crown of martyrdom, but 
wiped out some rash acts which history imputes to him 
in the course of the trial which led to it. Who was our 
own St. Thomas ? one who with a true heart had served 
his Lord and led an ascetic life even when he lived in the 
world, but who, before his elevation to the Primacy, had 
indulged in a pomp and magnificence unsuitable to the 
condition, not only of a priest, which he was not, but of 
the inferior orders of the sacred ministry. And so, 
again, in recent times, contemplate the heroic deaths of 
the martyr-priests of France during the excess of the first 
bloody Revolution ; yet they, although men of clear con- 
science and good life before, seem to have had no speciai 
notes of sanctity on their characters and histories. And 


SO, again, the latest martyr, as he may be called, of the 
French Church, the late Archbishop of Paris ; he, in- 
deed, had in every way adorned and sustained his high 
dignity, by holiness of conversation and a reputation 
beyond reproach ; and the last glorious act of his life was 
but in keeping with all which had gone before it. True ; 
but it is to my point to observe that this bright ex- 
ample of self-devotion and paternal tenderness for his 
flock, is commonly said to have shrunk in anticipation, 
by reason of the very gentleness and sweetness of his 
natural disposition, from such rough contests as that to 
which he was ultimately called ; yet, when his Lord's 
word came, he calmly went forth into the ranks of his 
infuriated people, stood between the mortal combatants, 
with the hope of separating them, and received the 
wound which suddenly took him off to his eternal re- 
ward. This, then, may be said, as a general rule, of the 
individual members of the white-robed army ; they have 
been, for the most part, men of noble zeal and chivalrous 
prowess, who startled the world, startled their friends, 
startled themselves by what the grace tliat is in the 
Church enabled them to do. They shot up at once to 
their high stature, and " being perfected in a short 
space," as the Wise man says, " they fulfilled a long 
time." Thus they shone forth, and " ran to and fro like 
sparks among the reeds," like those keen and sudden 
fires which dart forth from some electric mass, on due 
provocation, and intimate to us the power and intensity 
of the awful elements which lie concealed within it. 

The Church of God cannot change ; what she was that 
she is. What our forefathers were, such are we : we 
look like other men, but we have that in us, which none 

II h 2 


others have, — the latent element of an indomitable forti- 
tude. This may not be the age of saints, but all times 
are the age of martyrs. The arrow is on the string, and 
the arm is drawn back, and, " if the Lord give the word," 
great will be the multitude of His champions. Oh, my 
Brothers, it is difficult for you and me to realize this ; it 
is difficult for us to believe that we have it in us, being 
what we are, — but we have. And it is difficult for us 
to believe that this can be a time for testing it, nor do I 
say it is ; I think it cannot be : I only say, that if it 
were to be a time for calling out the martyr''s spirit, you 
and I, through God's grace, have it in us. I only mean, 
that it is profitable in such lesser trials as may easily 
come upon us, to reflect that we may trust we have that 
in us, which can sustain the greatest. And it would be 
profitable also for our opponents, high and low, if they 
too would lay this to heart. It would be well for them 
to recollect, that there is a certain principle, which we 
call zeal, and they call fanaticism. Let them beware of 
awaking what they would, in scoffing, call the fanatical 
spirit of the Catholic. For years and years the Catholics 
of England have borne personal slander, and insult, and 
injustice. In their own persons, and not merely in their 
religious profession, have they been treated, as the ad- 
herents of no other creed have been treated, with scorn, 
hatred, and cruelty. Men have shrunk from coming 
near them, and have almost discarded from their society 
those who did ; as if inflicting on them the greater ex- 
communication, as upon those who were the extremest 
reprobates and blasphemers on the face of the earth. 
They have borne, and they bear, an ill-usage, which in 
its mildest and most amiable form, has never risen higher 


than pity and condescension. They have borne, and they 
bear, to 

" Sit in the gate, and be the heathen's jest. 
Silent and self-possessed," 

waiting till the morning breaks, and a happier day 

So has it been with us up to this hour ; but let our 
enemies remember that, while they have their point of 
honour, we have ours. They have stripped us of power, 
wealth, name, and station ; they have left us nothing but 
our Apostolical inheritance. And now they wish to take 
from us the " little ewe-lamb," which is our only treasure. 
There was a saying of old, " Let alone Camarina, for 'tis 
best let alone." Let them, as sensible men, — I do not 
say, accept Catholicism as true, but admit it into their 
imagination as a fact. A story goes about of a sagacious 
statesman and monarch of our own time, who, when 
urged by some of his advisers to come to an open rupture 
with the Holy See, made answer, " If you can put your 
finger upon the page of history, and point out any one 
instance, in which any civil power quarrelled with Rome 
with honour and success in the event, I will accede to 
your wishes." And it has lately been given to the world, 
how that profound politician, apostate priest as he was, 
Prince Talleyrand, noted it, as one of Napoleon's three 
gi'eat political mistakes, that he quarrelled with the 
Pope. There is only one way of success over us, possible 
even in idea, — a wholesale massacre. Let them ealer- 
minate us, as they have done before, kill the priests, 
decimate the laity ; they have for a while defeated the 
Pope. They have no other way ; they may gain a mate- 
rial victory, never a moral one. 


These are thouglits to comfort and sustain U3, what- 
ever trial Hes before us, I might pursue them farther, 
but it is enough to have suggested them. Nothing more 
remains for me to do, but, in commending myself to your 
good thoughts, my Brothers, to thank those also, who, 
though not of our communion, have honoured me with 
their attendance. If I might take the liberty of ad- 
dressing them directly, I would anxiously entreat them to 
think over what I have said, even though they have not 
been altogether pleased at my manner of saying it. 
Minds, and judgments, and tastes, are so very different, 
that I cannot hope to have approved myself to all, even 
though they be well disposed towards me, nay, to any 
one at all so fully, but that he may have thought that 
some things might have been said better, and some things 
better omitted altogether. Yet I entreat them to believe 
that I have uttered nothing at random, but have had 
reasons, both for what I said and my manner of saying it. 
It is easy to fancy better ways of doing things, but 
very difficult to find them : and often the best way is, in 
the very nature of things, not positively good, but what 
happens to be better than others. And really in the 
present state of things, it is difficult to say any thing in 
behalf of Cathohcism, if it is to make any impression, 
without incurring grave criticism of one kind or another; 
and quite impossible so to say it, as not grievously to 
offend those whom one is opposing. But, after all, in 
spite of all imperfections, which are incident to the 
doings of every mortal man, and in spite of the differences 
of judgments, which will make those imperfections greater 
than they are, I do trust there is a substance of truth in 
what I have said, which will last, and produce its effect 


some where or other. Good is never done except at the 
expense of those who do it : truth is never enforced 
except at the sacrifice of its propounders. At least, they 
expose their inherent imperfections, if they incur no other 
penalty ; for nothing would be done at all, if a man 
waited till he could do it so well, that no one could find 
fault with it. 

Under these circumstances, then, what can I do but 
this ? — hope that what I have said well may be blest to 
those who have heard it ; and that what I might have 
said better, may be blest to me by increasing my dis- 
satisfaction with myself, by leading me to resign myself 
to such trouble or such anxiety as necessarily befals any 
one who has spoken boldly on an unpopular subject in a 
difficult time ; — and feel a sure confidence that such 
trouble and anxiety must bring some real good with it in 
the event, to those who have acted in sincerity, and by 
no unworthy methods and with no selfish aim.